Friday, October 30, 2009

Sea Studios Foundation and Sealife Conservation launch the "Think Beyond Plastics Southern California Tour" next week. The program includes a screening of the Sea Studios Film "Dirty Secrets," and a voyage aboard the marine research vessel Derek M. Baylis. The Tour is intended to raise awareness about marine conservation in coastal communities from Morro Bay to San Diego. First stop Morro Bay, Thursday, November 5!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sea Studios Wins Two Major Awards at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival

Sea Studios Foundation is proud to announce that we have won two awards at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. Sea Studios won Best 360 Campaign for our Think Beyond Plastics campaign. The 360 Award is given to the campaign package that most effectively utilizes multiple distribution platforms and formats, including: broadcast, theatrical, live-event, internet, venue specific display, gaming, mobicast, and any other distribution to enrich an appreciation or understanding of the natural world and the relevant issue. Sea Studios' film Once Upon a Tide won Best Children's Film. That award is given to the program that most effectively inspires an appreciation of the natural world, or issues associated with animals and the environment, to young audiences. Kudos to all!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Plastic Pollution Coalition

Mayors' Ocean Summit

On Friday, August 29, 2009 a one day event was hosted by West Marine for mayors of coastal cities from Crescent City to Santa Barbara, to discuss the dangers of plastic pollution.

The following city and state officials were in attendance: 

Hon. Sam Farr
Congress member, 17th district 

Hon. Bill Monning 
Assemblyman, 27th District

John Laird, Member
Waste Management Commission of the State of California

Sue McCloud, Mayor
Rich Guillen , City Manager 

Gregg Carty, Mayor
Dave Duflinger, City Manager

Del Rey Oaks
Joseph P. Russell, Mayor

Half Moon Bay 
John Muller, Mayor

Pacific Grove
Dan Cort, Mayor

Chuck Della Sala, Mayor

Morro Bay 
Betty Winholtz, Mayor

Santa Monica
Ken Genser, Mayor

Julie Lancelle, Mayor
Don Eagleston, Chamber of Commerce

Dennis Donohue, Mayor

Santa Cruz 
Cynthia Mathews, Mayor
Katherine Beiers, Council Member
Ryan Coonerty, Council Member
Tony Madrigal, Council Member
Fred Keeley, County Assessor

Ralph Rubio, Mayor

Antonio Rivas, Mayor
Carlos Palacios, City Manager

For more on the event, topics discussed and photos, visit this website:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

UCLA Film Screening

The Plastic Pollution Coalition invites you to
a special film screening

Friday, October 23, 2009
7 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
UCLA Melnitz Hall - James Bridges Theater

See Tapped, the Movie , followed by National Geographic's Strange Days on Planet Earth: Dirty Secrets, hosted by Edward Norton (, and a sneak preview of footage from a documentary by Bill Weaver and Jan Vozenilek on the current Midway Journey .

Screenings will be followed by a Q & A with the filmmakers.
Admission is free of charge

Get Informed. Take action.

This event is made possible through the generosity of Irmelin DiCaprio and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, The UCLA School of Film, Television and Digital Media, and the UCLA Institute of the Environment, with additional support from the UCLA Education for Sustainable Living Program.

To reserve your seat(s) please RSVP to

Friday, August 14, 2009

Summit on Communicating Plastics

Our work on communicating plastics continues. On July 24, a group of environmental leaders actively engaged in communicating the dangers of plastic pollution to the public came together at our offices on Cannery Row. The goal? How to communicate more effectively one key message - plastic pollution is bad. For the people. For the animals. For the planet. An excellent meeting that we kicked off with a team building exercise - African drums.
A day of great discussions took place. Topics, attendees and pictures - please visit the website.
Our work continues to capture the hearts and minds of many. Our facebook group is now over 27,000 people strong. People continue to view Edward Norton's inspirational message to "bring your own bag" and habits will begin to change.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Think Beyond Plastics - a finalist at Jackson Hole Film Festival

Think Beyond Plastics is bubbling rapidly. After the film festival our ranks on Facebook are growing: Think Beyond Plastics as well as Don't Trash the Ocean have gained hundreds of new members.
But the most exciting news arrived today: Think Beyond Plastics is a finalist at the Best 360 Campaign Category at the Jackson Hole Film Festival. What a terrific recognition for the campaign, for the people who are working on it, and for all of our partners who have and continue to contribute efforts.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Strategic Council on Plastic Pollution

World Oceans Day Brings Warnings from Plastic Pollution Council

On June 4th I helped form the Strategic Council on Plastics Pollution. Our goal is to raise awareness of rising threat of plastic pollution to people, animal and the environment.

Following a presentation to Google employees by Captain Charles Moore, an oceanographer who pioneered the study of plastic debris, the Strategic Council on Plastic Pollution convened at the Google Campus in Mountain View, California. It was our first meeting. Said council member and marine biologist Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, “We are finding plastic in the stomachs of sea turtles, birds, and fish all over the world. I find this extremely disturbing."

In honor of World Oceans Day, the council issued the following statement regarding this increasingly urgent threat to wildlife and human health:

Do you know where our plastic goes?

Did you know that our oceans are filling up with plastic pollution?

Plastic fragments contaminate even the most remote locations on earth, and harmful chemicals leached by plastics are present in the bloodstream and tissues of almost every one of us.

Plastic pollution harms people, animals, and the environment. Plastic is not biodegradable. In the marine environment, plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller particles that absorb toxic chemicals, are ingested by wildlife, and enter the food chain that we depend on.

Consumption of throwaway plastics, such as bottles, containers, bags, and packaging, has spiraled out of control.

Recycling is not a sustainable solution. The reality is that most of our plastic waste is landfilled, downcycled or exported to other countries. And tragically, millions of tons of plastic are poisoning our oceans.

Businesses and governments need to take responsibility for new ways to design, recover and dispose of plastics.

Plastic pollution is the visible symbol of our global crisis of over-consumption. Let's pledge to shift our societies away from the disposable habits that poison our oceans and land, eliminate our consumption of throwaway plastics, and begin embracing a culture of sustainability.

Our health, our children, and the survival of future generations depend on us.

To stay connected with the issue, join our facebook group Think Beyond Plastics or just visit

Terrific film festival, onto 2010

Our film festival was a real success!
We had excellent attendance, despite the beautiful day outside. Nice weather always kills movie attendance - but not in this case. People were coming in all throughout the day, talking to the partners who have set up booths, and actively participating in the panel at the end. We were very happy to welcome Anna Cummins and Markus Ericksen of Algalita, who are in the midst of their awareness campaign, called JunkRide 2000. Anna and Markus talked about sailing the Gyre and handed out samples of the "plastic soup". We concluded the evening with a wonderful sail on the Monterey Bay.
My thanks go out to our team, Wendy Goldman, Sheila Taylor and Blaise Douros, as well as the terrific volunteers who worked all day long to produce a memorable event: Peter Larson, Dalya Adams, Azucena Yzquierd, Rae Pineda and Mike Tomitz.

Friday, May 29, 2009

At The Last Stretch

A Think Beyond Plastics Film Festival

It has been crazy busy time for us all. Why did we ever think that a film festival is not that hard to put together? Tells you how much experience we have in doing that.
Well, what we did not know, we compensated with great willingness to succeed.
Our whole team continues to perform miracles. We have signed up partners, we have received sponsorships, our ads are all over the Monterey Peninsula - radio, newspapers. And of course, since we are so good at new media, we are all over with a Facebook page, fans and twitter followers.
We are so pleased that Earthbound Farms offered their sponsorship, as well as The Monterey Peninsula Weekly.
Everyone is worried about whether people will actually come - but I am not. Our goal is to raise awareness of the cause and by simply advertising and working with the partners we have already accomplished so much.
Think Beyond Plastics!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Why a great team is all you need

From Daniella Russo's moleskine.

Our support is growing and this brings great energy into the entire team. Today Passionfish joins in as a major sponsor of the festival. Other sponsors to date are Oceana, Indian Summer and the Monterey Peninsula Waste Management District. It is terrific to see so much excitement in the community for this - first - film festival in honor of Oceans Day.

A key element of the strategy for the campaign all along has been engaging non-profits and grass-roots organizations who are already working on the dangers of plastics and marine debris. Their access to the community, their "feet on the ground" are really important for the success of the campaign. We could offer excellent outreach materials, film and CDs to support their efforts. So, with these great partners on board, we march towards a great film festival. I hope we get the word out and people attend the event.

As I write about the team, it is important to mention Blaise Douros, our post-production assistant extraordinaire. In the film business post-production assistants do everything: from bringing coffee and making copies, to editing and burning CDs. Not at Sea Studios. Here we treat post-productions with some reverence, because they hold the key to our successful outreach campaigns. They produce all the material that ends in the hands of the public. Blaise came to us with a degree in music and skills in lots of technical areas. He has a great attitude, he is always ready to help, and we ask him to do everything - from producing the outreach CDs, to setting me up with a portable audio system for my keynote presentations, to researching stock footage, to selling stock footage, to creating the music for some of our podcasts, to actually getting sponsors signed up for the festival. And this is just a glimpse at his tasks. This week he did a tour de force along Cannery Row and got quite a few businesses to support he film festival.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Think Beyond Plastics keeps growing

From Daniella Russo's moleskin

It is truly amazing to see how our campaign is growing. We launched it at the end of 2008, with a Facebook cause, a viral film hosted by Edward Norton, and a destination page Our goal was to capture the interest in Edward Norton (Bring Your Own Bag), and send viewers to the portal web page that would help direct their interest. Soon we found out that there is no singular web site that organizes news, information and social activism around plastic bags, or The Garbage Patch. So we created the pages: and To get people to visit, we added a call to action at the end of Edward's Video Bag The Bag. We also launched a Google keyword campaign, linking certain words to the web sites. Slowly, but surely, traffic began to flow.
Today, about 14 months after we started the campaign, our Facebook cause is almost 17,000 strong and continues to grow. Traffic to both web sites is building up.
Key to our efforts now is partnering with grass-roots organizations to reach out to the communities live, not just online.
Next I will write about working with the partner organizations.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Film Festival Gains Momentum

From Daniella Russo's moleskine

Our film festival now has a logo! It is gaining momentum fast: it is listed on the web site, we have a press release and fact sheet, and are beginning to work with sponsors. Wendy is awesome. So is the Monterey Cannery Row IMAX. The theater is brand new, very elegant and with a great location. We are very happy to have them as a partner for the event.

And since I started writing about our terrific team, I have to say the event would be impossible without the talent and energy of Sheila Taylor. Sheila is our southern belle, complete with a lovely southern drawl invoking images of lazy afternoons with mint juleps in hand. But don't let this image fool you for a moment. There is nothing laid-back or slow about this woman. Behind the long blond hair and big blue eyes is one of the sharpest financial minds in the film business. Sheila is also working on the film festival, because we need all hands on deck and done a terrific job of selecting media outlets and organizing the partners. I am lucky to have such a talented team!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A film festival to honor Oceans Day

From Daniella Russo's notebook
So after long debates about how to get people interested in - er - garbage, marine debris and plastic containers, in a moment of absolutely clarity, our team of grass-roots organizations, filmmakers and non-profit leaders arrived at the decision to organize a film festival! In partnership with the Cannery Row IMAX who is providing its beautiful new facility for the event, we are now in the midst of organizing the inaugural Oceans Day film festival. This year's theme is "Think Beyond Plastics". We will screen three terrific films: Marina of the Zabballeen, Message in The Waves and Strange Days on Planet Earth (Dirty Secrets).

How do you get a film festival on a shoestring budget? Ask Wendy Goldman. Wendy is the queen of the event, who organizes us all with an iron fist and produces with a tremendous speed press releases, fact-sheets, pledges and everything else a film festival needs. Which is a lot. Click on our staff link and find out more abut Wendy. She is terrific.

Think Beyond Plastics gains momentum

From Daniella Russo's notes
Well, so much about writing regularly. We got real busy really fast: the campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of plastics "grew legs" in multiple communities and many grass-roots organizations. We have reached out to Surfrider, Save Our Shores, Oceana, Sea Life Conservation, Save The Whales and many others to get the message out to our communities. How? We produce thousands of CDs with outreach materials and ask people to take one and host a party. Not tupperware party, but a plastics-awareness party. As a result of our relentless focus on getting the word out, our Facebook cause Don't Trash The Ocean topped 15,000 and continues to snowball and traffic to our web sites and has nearly doubled.
We must press on.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Daniella Russo Launches Think Beyond Plastics

The premiere of Strange Days on Planet Earth behind us, we have been focused on raising awareness of one of the topics of the film: the dangers of plastics. Our Facebook Group Stop Trashing The Ocean is growing fast, and the members have been asking how to get involved, what is going on in their communities, what efforts should they support. Traffic to both GreatGarbagePatch and DropThePlasticBag is up. Clearly, the issues of plastics are at the public's attention. So in February 2009 we launched Think Beyond Plastic, a collaborative effort to connect the online activities with community events that focus on the dangers of plastics. I went to present to a great group - Outdoor Educators at their annual gathering at the Sempervirens Outdoor School in Santa Cruz. What a great crowd! Excited, committed to the health of our planet, and willing to learn and be involved. And so much fun.
Blaise, our post-production coordinator extraordinaire got me all prepared, with my own audio, video and tons of CDs for hosting parties. It was fun!
The road ahead is long, but full of terrific bright people and I look forward to working with them on this worthy cause.