We, at Hilton | Asmus, are committed to making a difference in the world by supporting artists, entrepreneurs, visionaries and organizations that are doing the work to make our planet a safer and healthier place to live. Whether it is bringing awareness about issues affecting our environment, human rights or animal rights, we are there!
On Friday, June 29th, we are excited to host a fundraiser in our gallery to help a dynamic, young millennial to kick off the first year of her not-for-profit called Blue Ring. Alex Rose is not only an entrepreneur, but also the Science Editor for Ocean Geographic Magazine, a professional violinist, a fellow member of the Explorer's Club and a Master Diver with over 700 dives under her belt! She is the quintessential AQUANAUT!
Alex created Blue Ring to offset the damage that we, the inhabitants of our planet, have inadvertently caused. I recently interviewed her for our video series on WomanScape and learned a great deal about what we are doing to our oceans and life on earth.
First, let me begin with something many of you may already know. WITHOUT THE OCEANS, THERE IS NO LIFE. The oceans provide more than half of the oxygen we breathe, the water we drink, food and jobs for billions of people and regulates our climate. Did you know that because 97% of the water on our planet is held by the oceans, almost all the rain that drops on land comes from the ocean? According to the American Museum of Natural History, "The ocean acts as a global climate control system: it regulates the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere by absorbing, storing and releasing the greenhouse gas in a variety of ways and places, thereby affecting Earth's climate. In fact, the ocean is an enormous storehouse for carbon, containing 50 times more than the atmosphere."
Not only that, but did you know that in the last 50 years we have decimated nearly 90% of all the large fish in our oceans? Scientists estimate that the remaining 10% will disappear by the year 2049 because of overfishing and plastic pollution. If we don't change the way we live, eat, fish and discard our refuse, that gives us about 30 more years to enjoy the taste of Bluefin Tuna, not to mention the declining numbers of blue whales, various species of sea turtles, sea lions, hammerhead sharks, dolphins and other beautiful aquatic sea creatures. On a side note, over 100 million sharks are killed each year for shark fin soup alone that people in Asian countries like to use as a symbol of their wealth (similar to killing elephants or rhinos for their tusks.) I don't necessarily want to be face to face with Jaws, but seriously, this horrible "shark finning" industry catches sharks, cuts off their fins and throws them back in the water to die. Who is better? The sharks or evolved humans?
And then we come to dire issue of single use plastics which have decimated our oceans and our health, and I'm not even talking about the sea animals that are affected by consuming plastic bottle caps, straws, and micro-plastics. National Geographic Magazine recently dedicated an entire issue to the problem. There are many different types of plastic, but in all, most plastics will take 500 to 1000 years to decompose. Then there are photo-degradable plastics.
Photo-degradable means that the chemicals, when exposed to sunlight, will break down into smaller and smaller pieces and turn into micro-plastics. This is great, except that even the plankton are now eating micro-plastics. And we are eating the fish that are eating the plankton. Now, nearly every time we eat fish, WE ARE EATING PLASTIC! When these photo-degradable products eventually decompose, they release toxins such as the BPA that we don't want in our canned foods. And that's another problem we have to deal with. People often confuse Photodegradable with Biodegradable. When biodegradable products break down, they CAN be ingested by small organisms in the metabolic cycle - which means it's healthy for them AND for us. When photo-degradable products break down, they are toxic!
Below are a few staggering statistics courtesy of National Geographic:
• 18 billions pounds of plastic end up in our oceans each year- that's the equivalent of five grocery bags of plastic trash sitting on every foot of coastline
• In the U.S. alone, 500 millions straws are used and discarded a day
• 40 percent of plastic produced is packaging, used just once and then discarded.
• Shoppers in the United States use almost one plastic bag per resident per day. Shoppers in Denmark use an average of four plastic bags a year.
• Plastic recycling rates are highest in Europe at 30 percent
• China’s rate is 25 percent
• The United States recycles just 9 percent of its plastic trash
• Nearly a million plastic beverage bottles
are sold every minute around the world.
• In 2015, Americans purchased about 346 bottles
per person—111 billion plastic beverage bottles in all.
• About 8 percent of the world’s oil production is used to make plastic
and power the manufacturing of it. That figure is projected to rise to 20 percent by 2050
So what is the solution to this ever growing problem we created?
There are many wonderful people all over the world doing the work that we should all be doing as a team. THE HUMAN TEAM. So where do we begin? Below are a few things you can do as an individual:
1. When you got to a restaurant or takeout place, refuse the straw they put into your plastic cup or your glass. Learn to drink without a straw. OR, buy a stainless steel straw courtesy of BLUE RING that you can carry in your purse or your pocket. Be vocal of the reason why you refused the straw.
2. Don't throw out your plastic bags from the grocery store or plastic containers from the take takeout place or your doggy bag. Re-use them . And when you can't anymore, make sure they are in a recycling bin.
3. Be conscious of your trash! Make sure you recycle anything that is recyclable.
4. Be vocal with your politicians about recycling services in your cities. Require them to care and vote on ecologically sustainable issues.
5. Support your ocean conservation organizations.
Blue Ring is a "Benefit Corporation" that allows people to “marry” the ocean (spelled Mery - as in La Mer) for a membership fee of $25 annually in return for a ring, or other items, made of recycled ocean plastic. These products are geared towards making it easier to #SayNoToPlastics. Each time you choose reusable instead of single-use, you reduce your footprint while helping to keep our waterways clean and our wildlife safe. Blue Rings are hand-crafted out of a lightweight silicone that’s hypo-allergenic, non-toxic, and durable. They also have a variety of products such as stainless steel straws, bamboo cutlery and stainless steel water bottles.
Blue Ring supports, via many small-scale purchases, the funding of globally significant ocean exploration and conservation projects that will positively shape the future.
The first project to be funded are two 1,000-meter, dual classed submersibles. As Alex Rose states, "The reason behind this choice boils down to a single quote: 'In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.' These submersibles will exist solely for ocean exploration."
We know more about distant planets than we know about our oceans. The grass is not greener somewhere else. It's actually blue. As legendary oceanographer and Time Magazine's "Hero for the Planet" Dr. Sylvia Earle states, "NO BLUE NO GREEN."
We will be doing a Skype call with Dr. Earle to discuss the state of the oceans and what we can do to make a difference on Friday, June 29 at Hilton | Asmus Contemporary. Join us to be part of THE HUMAN TEAM!!!
Thank you all for your support!
Please join us on Friday, June 29 at 7:30 pm and MERY THE OCEAN with us!
BUY YOUR TICKET: SEA CHANGE TICKET
For more information: www.bluering.blue
Listen to my live interview with Alex at www.womanscape.com
(subscribe to WomanScape)