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The America’s Cup.  The most prestigous and glamorous sailing event in the world.

It brings those passionate about sailing and the sea together with big business and serious advertising.

At the last America’s Cup, the contest was particularly exciting. The match was the longest on record both in calendar time, and the number of races, with the U.S.’s Golden Gate Yacht Club staging an improbable come-from-behind victory, winning eight races in a row to defend the Cup with nine points to New Zealand’s eight.

With all of the media coverage and big name sponsors associated with the Cup (Louis Vuitton, BMW, Oracle, etc.) the event is a showcase for our oceans.

The excitement about the 35th Cup, being held in Bermuda, is unprecedented and with this they have the opportunity to remind us all about the importance of protecting the sea and helping to clean up oceans.

Unfortunately, the America’s Cup is not off to a good start.

After achieving the highest honor possible during the 34th Cup for implementing environmental sustainability best practices, it is surprising that the organizers of the 35th Cup created potential harm to the ocean by releasing balloons in Gothenburg.  The image above is lovely, with a little girl raising her hands enjoying the event.

Would she be cheering, though, if she knew that sea turtles, whales, birds and many other sea creatures are known to have suffered and died from ingestion of or entanglement by balloons?

We have mentioned this in many of our previous posts. As a sad update, researchers from Queensland recently found that 78% of the plastic recovered from a sample of sea turtles came from eating balloons.

Remember, what goes up must come down.  As our friends at Balloons Blow say, “Balloons Blow…Don’t Let Them Go!”

Below is a picture that I took this past summer. A dead bird wrapped in the string of an old, washed out helium balloon.

IMG_2670

If you think this sight is uncommon, you would be wrong.

If you do a Google search (click on the search link below), you will find that balloons are a major cause of death for birds and marine animals.

Google + Balloons + Harm + Wildlife

You can find more information on the documented problems by clicking on following Balloons Blow link:

The Ugly Truth

Beyond balloons, the Cup organizers are also standing still while eleven acres of marine habitat are destroyed to increase the size of the race village.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 10.25.54 AM

According to a post by Sailors for the Sea, the proposed landfill in Bermuda will bury 11 acres of marine habitat that is known to support protected species including sea turtles, eagle rays and parrotfish.

As Scuttlebutt Sailing News reports, the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) plans to go to court to challenge these plans, which they say are in violation of existing environmental regulations.

“We have met several times with America’s Cup Bermuda Ltd. head Mike Winfield or members of his team and have jointly attempted to reach resolution on those portions of the application that directly affect the America’s Cup organization” and “unfortunately those attempts were not successful,” said BEST Chairman Stuart Hayward.

Louis Vuitton (The LVMH Group), BMW and Oracle can demand that America’s Cup change its environmental footprint. These companies already are publicly behind important environmental efforts. Below are links to the public environmental statements that LVMH, BMW and Oracle make on their websites:

LVMH Environmental Charter

Oracle Environmental Policy

BMW Group-Wide Environmental Protection

I want the 35th America’s Cup to be an outstanding and joyful success. The imagines from Bermuda will be stunning, with cutting-edge hydrofoil boats racing literally above the water.

America’s Cup sponsors, while enjoying and celebrating joy on the water, don’t let this opportunity to make a difference in cleaning up oceans go to waste.

#KeeptheCupClean

 

Preston McSwain can be found during the day working as the Managing Partner and Founder at Fiduciary Wealth Partners.  To see more of his posts about his day job, investments, and on issues such as clean oceans, and education, connect with him through the following social media links:

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You can quickly run out of superlatives when talking about whales.

They are the largest, loudest, longest-lived and most voracious animals on the planet.  In particular, the sperm whale is one of the most magnificent.

Sperm whales have the biggest brain of any animal – a massive 18 pounds compared to our human brain of only 3 pounds.

At 65 feet long, they are perhaps the largest predators that have ever existed.

They spend 90 percent of their lives at great depths, able to dive deeper than any other animal – sometimes reaching over 3000 feet or almost 2 miles and staying under water for more than 2 hours at a time.

The sounds sperm whales make, which scientists believe are communications, can reach well over 200 decibels – as loud as a jet engine and powerful enough to be heard six miles away.

It has been documented that they can live as long as 230 years.  This means that sperm whales may be swimming in the sea now that were alive before Victoria ascended the throne or Captain Cook discovered Australia.  Bowhead whales, their close cousins, live to even greater ages — up to 300 years, making them the planet’s longest living mammals.

To sustain itself, a sperm whale must consume up to 1,000 squid a day — that’s approximately 1,100 pounds of calamari!

Although it has a 10 foot long jaw studded with 42 enormous teeth (each up to 2 feet long), it does not bite its prey.  Instead, it sucks up its food like a giant vacuum cleaner, swallowing squid whole.

And what does research show that sperm whales often Hoover up?

Plastic bags and balloons.

As an example, over 1,700 pounds of plastic (much of it supermarket bags) recently was found clogged in the stomach of a whale that died on the French coast.

Living so long, and being such large consumers of what is in the sea, sperm whales give us a good picture of the changing health of our oceans.

What changes have we seen in sperm whales over the past 200 years?

Well, in less than a whale generation (remember they can live to age 230) it is estimated that their population has been reduced from 2 million to 360,000.

For many years, hunting had a significant impact on the sperm whale population.  Hunting sperm whales is now widely banned, but unfortunately our current activities create longer-lasting dangers.

One of the greatest problems faced by any marine species is the sheer amount of plastic (especially plastic bags and balloons*) in the ocean.   The fact that plastic bags and balloons don’t biodegrade only compounds the problem.  For decades, if not centuries, the plastic just breaks downs into smaller and smaller fragments that enter the food chain for sea life — and eventually the food chain for humans.

By virtue of its position at the top of the marine food chain, the sperm whale is affected more than most any other creature by the pollution we dump in the sea.

It is sadly ironic that a simple plastic food bag that holds food to sustain our lives, or a party balloon that is meant to bring short-term joy, can have a powerfully long-term negative impact elsewhere – causing unnecessary death for generations of whales and other marine animals.

My family and I are again fortunate to be on Martha’s Vineyard, and I am back to my daily beach walks.  What am I finding again?

Plastic bags and balloons.

It was raining here yesterday, so I am caught up on my clean ocean reading and writing.  An article by the Daily Mail from the U.K. titled “Sperm Whales – How Plastic Bags Are Poisoning The Planet’s Greatest Predators” provided much of the inspiration and information for this post.  The full article can be found at the following link:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2096142/Sperm-whales-How-plastic-bags-poisoning-planets-greatest-predators.html

The wind blew hard yesterday, which means that on my walk this morning I am likely to find many plastic bags and balloons on the beach.  If everyone did just a little bit to help, maybe some day I will not be able to take pictures like the one below (taken at South Beach on Martha’s Vineyard).

photo 2

Plastic in the ocean is truly a whale of a problem, but small actions, taken together, can create whale-sized, scalable change.

Help us Clean Up Oceans!

 

* During the 2011 International Coastal Cleanup, volunteers collected 120,450 pounds of bags from beaches in the United States.  For more information about plastic in our oceans please click on the following click:  Facts About Ocean Pollution

 

Preston McSwain can be found during the day working as the Managing Partner and Founder at Fiduciary Wealth Partners.  To see more of his posts about his day job, investments, and on issues such as clean oceans, and education, connect with him through the following social media links:

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Curious George

A lovable cartoon figure and book that many children (including mine) love.

What is not so lovely, however, is a washed up Curious George balloon on a beach.  The picture on the left was taken early this morning on South Beach on Martha’s Vineyard.  George was the first balloon I found.

Being curious like George you might ask, “but what is the real harm in a party balloon on the beach?”

Well, as is pictured on the right, plenty.

Only a few yards away from where I found Curious George, was a sad example.

A dead bird wrapped in the string of an old, washed out helium balloon.

Unfortunately, if you think this sight is uncommon, you would be wrong.

If you do a Google search (click on the search link below), you will find that balloons are a major cause of death for birds and marine animals.

Google + Balloons + Harm + Wildlife

As I have written before, we are not against party favor fun (see prior Clean Up Oceans Posts) but, if more people knew about what often happened when balloons float away, would more take action and ban helium filled balloons?

I think so.

Curious as to how you you help?

Click on the links to Google +, Facebook, Linked In, Pinterest or Twitter at the bottom of this post and spread the word.  Encourage your community to ban helium balloons and all balloon releases.

Help clean up oceans, protect the environment and save birds and marine life.

Preston McSwain can be found during the day working as the Managing Partner and Founder at Fiduciary Wealth Partners.  To see more of his posts about his day job, investments, and on issues such as clean oceans, and education, connect with him through the following social media links:

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We are fortunate to be back on Martha’s Vineyard and, as I do most mornings on the island, I took the dog for an early morning walk on South Beach in Edgartown.

The top picture was my initial view this morning at the start.  Just lovely.

Unfortunately, as I looked more closely, I found a familiar sight.

Balloons.

The pictures on the bottom row were also taken this morning on the same beach (just close ups of things that I found walking the same direction that you see in the top photo).  I walked on the beach for a total of 30-40 minutes.  Any guesses on how many balloons I picked up on the stretch of beach that is pictured at the top?

59

Yes, a crazy number.

When I looked closely, balloons were everywhere.  If you take notice on your next visit to the beach, I bet you will find the same.

The big mylar ones (with Happy Birthday and Get Well messages, etc.) are easy to find.

What you might not notice at first are the smaller ones.  If you look carefully, though, you will find balloons and balloon string in many dried clumps of seaweed.  They are everywhere.

I know that balloons can bring joy and I don’t want to be a killjoy, but balloons can also kill (animals who mistake them for food or get caught in balloon string).

Enjoy the non-helium filled ones, but please don’t let any blow away.  If they are filled with helium, and you are near a coastline, they are likely to end up in the ocean.

As we wrote about in our “Will Martha’s Vineyard Join Nantucket” post (click on the title to read), please help protect the ocean and consider encouraging your community to take the bold move Nantucket, MA did, and ban helium balloons.

More on restrictions that your community might already have in place about balloon releases can be found at the following:

Balloon Laws

With a little action, even just encouraging existing laws to be enforced, you can make a difference and help clean up oceans.

 

Preston McSwain can be found during the day working as the Managing Partner and Founder at Fiduciary Wealth Partners.  To see more of his posts about his day job, investments, and on issues such as clean oceans, and education, connect with him through the following social media links:

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We are very happy today to be supporting World Oceans Day.

Please help us spread the world about the importance of Clean Oceans!

You can learn more at the following:

World Oceans Day

World Ocean Day Events

 

Preston McSwain can be found during the day working as the Managing Partner and Founder at Fiduciary Wealth Partners.  To see more of his posts about his day job, investments, and on issues such as clean oceans, and education, connect with him through the following social media links:

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One of our first blogs on Clean Up Oceans was about at then 19 year old, Boyan Slat (see Innovative Idea post).

We were excited about the possibilities that we first learned about in the below video (please take time for quick look – it is truly amazing).

Now, less than a year after our first post, we are pleased to learn that this amazing idea has been funded and is scheduled to be deployed in 2016 to clean up oceans (see the below press release link)!

“World’s First Ocean Cleaning System to Be Deployed”

The innovative ocean cleaning system is projected to be deployed off the coast of Tsushima, an island located in the waters between Japan and South Korea.

The system will span 2000 meters (6,560 feet), which will make it the longest floating structure ever deployed in the ocean.  It is planned to be operational for at least two years, catching plastic pollution.

Within five years, Boyan Slat and his The Ocean Cleanup effort plans to deploy a 100 kilometer (62 mile) long system to clean up about half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a giant mass of ocean trash sitting between Hawaii and California.

Slat said: “Taking care of the world’s ocean garbage problem is one of the largest environmental challenges mankind faces today. Not only will this first cleanup array contribute to cleaner waters and coasts but it simultaneously is an essential step towards our goal of cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”

Mega Expedition

In addition, in April, The Ocean Clean Up organization announced a Mega Expedition, in which up to 50 vessels will collect more plastic measurements in three weeks than have been collected in the past 40 years combined.

The Mega Expedition will take place in August 2015, and the vessels will cover a 3,500,000 square kilometer area between Hawaii and California in parallel, creating the first high- resolution map of plastic in the Pacific Ocean.

The expedition, an initiative of The Ocean Cleanup, is supported by the Transpac Sailing Race, which is assisting in the recruitment of vessels.  The City of Los Angeles will welcome Transpac this August.

Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles said: “Increasing our scientific understanding of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is essential to developing effective solutions.  It’s this type of creative and large-scale thinking that we need to tackle problems like this.  We’re proud to be welcoming the Mega Expedition to the Port of Los Angeles.”

“When you want to clean the oceans, it is important to know how much plastic is out there,” says Slat. “Right now, estimates vary by orders of magnitude, due to the small amount of measurements. The Mega Expedition will allow us to produce the first-ever high-resolution estimate of the amount of plastic inside the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and we are grateful for the Mayor’s and Transpac’s support.”

Congratulations to Boyat Slat and all of the those who have made this effort a reality.  We will be supporting you and cheering you on!

You can learn more and help by contributing to cleaner oceans at the following links:

The Ocean Cleanup

Donate to The Ocean Cleanup

 

Preston McSwain can be found during the day working as the Managing Partner and Founder at Fiduciary Wealth Partners.  To see more of his posts about his day job, investments, and on issues such as clean oceans, and education, connect with him through the following social media links:

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Let’s talk some serious trash.  And, no I am not talkin’ about talkin’ bad, I am talkin’ about doing good.

The ocean is key to the health of our planet and trash is one of the ocean’s greatest threats..

Help me in supporting “Talking Trash & Taking Action“, which is an educational partnership between the Ocean Conservancy and the NOAA Marine Debris Program.

I will write more about this over the next few months, but consider following the conversation on Twitter at @OurOcean on May 20th at 2pm EDT.  Look for the #OceanTrashTalk hashtag.

To read more about the campaign, click on the following Ocean Conservancy logo.

logo-oc-170

Help us Clean Up Oceans!

 

Preston McSwain can be found during the day working as the Managing Partner and Founder at Fiduciary Wealth Partners.  To see more of his posts about his day job, investments, and on issues such as clean oceans, and education, connect with him through the following social media links:

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This morning on my walk with our little dog Sparky, I found myself picking up a few pieces of trash along the side of the street.  Why people litter when driving by a neighborhood I will never figure out.

I got home and what did I find?

My wife reading The Lorax by Dr. Seuss to my little girl.  For those who don’t know The Lorax, like many of Dr. Seuss’s books, carries an important message.  Take care of the environment.

The quote below was written by Dr. Seuss in the mid 1970s, but it still holds true today.

“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”

A good reminder of the day from Dr. Seuss for Clean Up Oceans and for any causes that you care about.

Below is a link to the book.  Take action and enjoy!

The Lorax

 

Preston McSwain can be found during the day working as the Managing Partner and Founder at Fiduciary Wealth Partners.  To see more of his posts about his day job, investments, and on issues such as clean oceans, and education, connect with him through the following social media links:

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Before my friends on Martha’s Vineyard (MV) think I am crazy to suggest that MV will join archrival Nantucket (ACK), I am not talking about a merger or the end to fun rivalry between the two islands.

What I am hoping is that our Summer getaway, MV, will join ACK and ban balloons.

Why?

It is not that I am against fun and joy at social gatherings.  It is that I am pro clean oceans.

Helium filled balloons often float away and ultimately land in the ocean.  They are one of the top forms of pollution on our beaches and harm many sea creatures.

Today, we are finally having a lovely warm Spring day in New England, and my mind is starting to drift to thoughts of nice long walks on the beach this Summer.

I hope MV will join ACK and take action to limit or ban balloons (see our previous Nantucket Bans Balloons post) , so I that I am not able to take pictures like I did last Summer (see below).

Ocean

Stay tuned and get ready local officials on MV.  You will be hearing from me soon.

For more on how balloons harm our oceans, click on the below picture and see posts on the Balloons Blow website.  They don’t hold back and have been successful in getting many communities and companies to stop releasing balloons at events.

Balloons Blow

 

Preston McSwain can be found during the day working as the Managing Partner and Founder at Fiduciary Wealth Partners.  To see more of his posts about his day job, investments, and on issues such as clean oceans, and education, connect with him through the following social media links:

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This week a prominent New England community finally heard the message and banned balloons to protect the ocean and marine life.

Bravo Nantucket!!

According to a story in the Boston Globe, Scott Leonard, director of operations at the Nantucket Marine Mammal Conservation Program, worked on the proposal for two years.

Nantucket Passes Ban on Helium Balloons – Boston Globe, April 8th, 2015

As Leonard said in the article, stray balloons may seem like they’ve floated away for good, but descend to the ground when they deflate.  Marine animals, including birds, turtles and fish, sometimes eat balloons they’ve mistaken for food.

“This will help maintain a healthy ecosystem,” said Leonard. “It’s an easy behavior to fix, and we have fixed it here.”

Another important message was mentioned by Sarah Oktay, a Nantucket environmental advocate.  She is quoted as saying that she and her colleagues pick up thousands of balloons every year.

As I have mentioned in other posts, in the Summer my family is fortunate to be able to spend time on Martha’s Vineyard (MV), which like Nantucket is an island off the coast of Massachusetts.

When we are on the island, most every morning I go for a long-walk on the beach.  Unfortunately, on most every walk I pick up balloons.

Last year on a walk I had so many balloons that I could not carry them all in two bags that I had brought with me.  A beach patrolman came along on his ATV and I stopped him for help.  I ask him to guess what type of trash was in the bags.  He said, “it must be Balloons, they are the number one form of trash on the beach and we find many birds and seals every year who have died because of eating them…”

Hopefully more communities will take up this important cause (pressure is on MV) and, in the future, I will not be able to take pictures like the one below, which was taken last Summer.

Ocean

 

Preston McSwain can be found during the day working as the Managing Partner and Founder at Fiduciary Wealth Partners.  To see more of his posts about his day job, investments, and on issues such as clean oceans, and education, connect with him through the following social media links:

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About.me

FWP

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