For more on the Whaleman Foundation’s Newest Spokesperson read the announcement here:
From Instagram: Simply Straws Announces Angela as Newest Ambassador!
News - See more at: http://whaleman.org/angela-sun-the-whaleman-foundations-newest-spokesperson/#sthash.sveqlDs9.dpuf, adventure, angela sun, eco, green, plastic, plastic paradise, sharks, simply straws, spokesperson, travel, whaleman, whales
For more on the Whaleman Foundation’s Newest Spokesperson read the announcement here:
From Instagram: Simply Straws Announces Angela as Newest Ambassador!
My 5 super easy ways to reduce using single-use plastic for E! online!
read the full article here: http://www.eonline.com/news/535845/angela-sun-shares-5-super-easy-ways-to-stop-using-so-much-plastic
In honor of green week, we asked Angela Sun, Director of Plastic Paradise and host of Yahoo! Sports Minute, to share her top five tips on how we could recycle better, use less plastic, and cut down our overall carbon footprint. Here’s what she suggested:
1. Ditch the Drink Accessories: “Sad fact: More than 500 million disposable plastic straws are used in the United States every day and would fill more than 127 school buses daily, or more than 46,400 school bus loads per year,” says Sun. “With most ending up on beaches, stop yourself from reaching for a straw next time you’re eating out at a restaurant or even when drinking a healthy green smoothie.”
2. Mug Investment: “How many times have you been in a coffee shop and taken a look around and almost EVERYONE has their drink in a disposable cup? They even sell reusable ones that look like disposable ones because we are conditioned to the convenience of having that shape in our hands. If you can’t bring your own mug, when you order, ask for it without the lid. If they say its a safety concern ask for a regular size in a larger cup so it won’t spill. Whatever you do, don’t take the lid! Plus, economically you get a discount usually when you bring your own.”
3. B.Y.O.C: “Be bold and bring your own cup to a party. You know you will enjoy libations, so why not do it in style. I guarantee it will be a conversation starter at a party when you ditch the red cup and bring your own reusable one! #partywithyourpint”
4. Be a Bag Lady: “Its not just at the grocery store, what about every time you go to the pharmacy or mall? Just say no or bring your own reuseable tote bag. Over 70 communities in the U.S. have already banned/taxed single use plastic bags. Just look at the smoking bans in restaurants, its just a little shift in thinking.
5. Challenge Yourself: “Take our two week pledge to say no to single use plastic. The sports host reveals two weeks is a great start to shift towards impactful and feasible change, and encourages everyone to visit Plastic Paradise Movie for more details on how to join the plastic paradise pledge to decrease the use of single plastic.”
Sun adds: “Bottom line is we survived 50 years ago before the age of convenient disposable plastics, and after finding plastic in the remote ends of the earth where it shouldn’t be, in the bellies of the wildest animals, when will we listen to the canary in the coal mine?”
I know I have been behind on posting, I’ve been so busy, sleeping is but a dream. (pun intended). I promise I will be better at updating!!
Some exciting news to share: I’ll be hosting Season 4 of American Ninja Warrior alongside Matt Iseman and Jonny Moseley. We’ve been on the road all across the country trying to find someone who can conquer Mt. Midoriyama! I will be giving you the latest scoop from the sidelines with our competitors! check out the promo below!
May 20th 9-11pm on G4 Southwest Qualifying Round
May 21st 9-11pm on NBC Southwest Finals
It smells like mildew. The musty smell of my bungalow (before the a/c kicked in) amidst the humid jungles of Baan Krating lingers on my black wrap sweater as I sit on the plane. I am not ready for the flight back to reality. I smell it again and smile. Instantly I am transported back 10 days ago when this amazing adventure started.
I was a little nervous and very excited. It felt like I was just selected to be on a mash up of Road Rules/RealWorld goes Scuba diving! 10 strangers, (5 guys, 5 girls) from all around the country, hand selected by Malibu Rum out of hundreds of applicants.to be flown to Thailand for an all expenses paid internship to learn about coral reef conservation and become certified EcoDivers. Sounds like the makings of a reality show to me! To put this into context I must explain.
It all started when I was checking the surf cam one day on for my home break, first point Malibu. A banner ad that said something about a Malibu Reef Check internship caught my attention. As an avid diver, surfer, and producer of an environmental documentary project, this was right up my alley. Upon realizing it was Malibu Rum sponsoring a trip with the non-profit organization Reef Check that involved traveling to the Maldives, Thailand, or the Phillipines, it was on! Some girls are enticed by flowers and chocolates, but the way to get to my heart is travel (especially some where tropical)! I filled out the online application, had a phone interview, and the rest was history. I travel a lot for work in television and film, so many of my friends thought this was just another “work” trip, but this was unrelated. One of my big passions happens to be the coral reefs and anything to do with sports and water.
Giddy as fat kid about to walk into a candy store, I strolled into breakfast with my Malibu Rum Reef Check nametag hanging around my neck. “Hi, are you guys with the internship?” I ask a group of young people who looked distinctly American. “Yup!” They chimed. It seemed like everyone already knew each other. (They had all met on the flights over to Bangkok) I covertly place my giant nametag in my pocket, since I’m the ONLY dorky one wearing it, and sheepishly take a seat. I learn that everyone found out about the internship serendipitously, and that they are all just as excited as I am.
From Bangkok, we hop on the earliest flight to Phuket, the westside of Thailand’s skinny southern tail, eager to meet the Andaman Sea and its good friend Reef Check Thailand, a.k.a. coordinators Kim and Awe. I had been here once before, 10 years ago. So I was curious to see how much has changed, especially after the tsunami.
Tucked away in the quiet southwest corner of the island of Phuket, secluded from the chaos and ladyboys of Patong, we arrive at what would be home for the next 7 days, Baan Krating Jungle Beach Resort. Little did the staffers know, the resort was our canvas, and we planned to paint it red! Many a night would be spent in the open -air dining room, karaoking to cheesy 80s classics, mixing up new Malibu cocktails in pursuits of bragging rights, and dancing the night away.
This is how we started every night. Cheers!
Don’t be fooled, though there was a lot of fun to be had, we did have jam-packed classroom sessions learning how to conduct a survey, and how to identify reef check indicators. Greg Hodgson, head of Reef Check, taught us about substrates, invertebrates, and fish indicators for the Indo-Pacific region. This uniformity in data collection helps the 90 Reef Check offices worldwide gather accurate information in their annual reports on the state of our coral reefs. After too many cups of coffee, the caffeine starts to kick in and its time to put our newfound knowledge to the test!
The reef in front of our resort beckons us with the sound of the waves, crashing on her white sandy shore. The amazingly warm crystal clear water washes over my feet as I get my mask and fins together. Surfing in California, I’ve always appreciated the tropical end of the Pacific, milking every moment I can be in water without a wetsuit! I am in paradise.
Its show and tell time as Greg and Kim from Reef Check, point out different reef check indicators swimming below our fins. One indicator fish species is the grouper, a bottom dweller that has been over fished to satisfy the appetites of hungry patrons in restaurants from Hong Kong to Japan to the rest of Asia. The Andaman waters used to be home to big Groupers, (some the size of me) as well as the famous Phuket lobster, another reef check indicator. When I was here 10 years ago, every restaurant in town would boast of who’s got the biggest Phuket lobster displayed neatly on beds of ice for customers to pick the freshest catch of the day. Nowadays spotting a big lobster at restaurant (or during a dive) would be like finding a rare gemstone.
I am eager to explore and wander off from the group of little ducklings following Mother Goose Greg. “That’s a butterfly fish, not an Moorish idol, cause it has a butter colored tail” my over achieving voice in my head thinks, as I breath loudly into my snorkel. I dive down for a closer inspection of the coral head below and realize what I thought was algae was actually a big piece of fishing net! I look around and find more ghost nets latched onto healthy coral suffocating the life out of them. I try to untangle and remove some of the nets but only manage to release one small coral head from its man-made captor. Fishing nets make up at least 10% of all marine debris, and it saddens me when I think removing all ghost nets from our oceans would be an impossible task. Deflated, I snorkeled back to shore with my little piece of net tightly in my hand. I throw it in the trash, and head up to lunch where I finally find the elusive grouper, served to me on my plate.
KO PHI PHI
The sun beats down as the boat rocks back and forth. Back and forth….ugh, I’m starting to get seasick, and my less-drowsy Dramamine is making me sleepy. Focus on the horizon, I tell myself. I gaze forward at the small limestone karst cliffs that jut out of the ocean like sirens, tempting us to come closer for a look. It’s a chain of small rock formations, called Ko Phi Phi, famously known for being the backdrop of many a Hollywood movie, including Leonardo Dicaprio’s quest to fill his wanderlust in “The Beach”. Thousands of tourists flock to this marine protected area daily as well as a handful of illegal fishing boats, The impact of these underwater footprints can be detrimental to the reefs.
Laying the transect line
I tread lightly, floating above the bed of large leafy lettuce coral like Peter Rabbit curiously poking about with my huge measuring tape scouting out a good 100m area to lay down the transect. We are divided into dive teams, and my team’s job was to set the line. Huge hundred year old coral heads protects the fragile inhabitants hiding in its nooks and crannies. This reef bed was pristine. A friendly and curious giant moral eel startles me, and I quickly dart away, in hopes he wouldn’t see my fingers as a nice snack. We start the survey counting first the indicator fish, then invertebrates. After counting my 150th sea urchin I was over it. Being a marine biologist out in the field gathering data is hard work! We decide to take a little dance break underwater (see video) before realizing we had been diving for almost an hour and a half! Feeling confident about my reef checking capabilities, I return to the boat happy as a giant clam, with the utmost respect for real marine biologists who do this all the time.
Underwater Dance Break
Along with the amazing underwater world, we took a cultural excursion to a Muslim fishing village. (Reef Check partners with many local villages to teach about coral conservation) We saw many larger fish that we had not seen on the reef—leopard sharks, toddler-sized giant groupers, lobsters, big wrasses—all in little six foot cubed nets. I was disheartened to find that this “fish jail” was a form of eco-tourism as well as a way to harvest “sustainable” local fishing. I had seen many of these species swimming freely while diving in remote parts of the Philippines, South Pacific, and the Great Barrier Reef and it saddened me to think for many of my team members, this is the first time, and perhaps the only time they would see these majestic creatures, held captive until they are sold or eaten.
THE PERFECT MALIBU COCKTAIL
As for my fellow interns, I could not have imagined a better tasting concoction. Take 10 strangers from all walks of life. Add in 2 cups of adventure, 1 cup of passion, 1 quart of marine biology and coral conservation. Gently stir in Reef Check surveys and scuba diving until thoroughly mixed. Add a splash of Malibu Rum, 1 shot of dancing, 1/2 shot of singing, 1 shot of laughter, and 1 cup of good times. Blend together with ice. Serve chilled with a garnish of memories, and get your island on! That was my Malibu Reef Check internship in a cocktail! Thank you Malibu, Thomas Collective, and Reef Check– Sarah, Avril, Morgan, Greg, Kim and Awe for making this happen. And thank you my fellow interns to Marc, Drew, Aaron, Ryan, Geoff, Diana, Laura, Karla and Meredith for an experience of a lifetime.
November 21, 2009
Its 5 am and the morning light has not quite yet broken the horizon. As a night owl, I cant’ believe I’m up at this God forsaken hour but alas, I was jetlagged, and I didn’t know what time I should be up if my life depended on it.
Like two ants traveling through an underground maze, we head out in the dark to conquer the Tokyo subway. It is eerily quiet–the morning rush hour had not yet begun. As soon as we arrive at our destination, the smell of freshly caught fish overwhelms my senses and I let my nose lead me. “If all else fails just follow all the foreigners,” my friend says. We pass by row after row of small sushi restaurants and stores selling trinkets and t-shirts. Yes, I am at the famous Tsukiji (pronounced SKEE GEE) Fish Market in Tokyo. The vast expanse of the market is roughly the size of 43 football fields and each year it handles 600,000 tons of seafood– 1 of every 5 fish caught on the planet! The city plans to move the market in the next couple of years, to a more modern building. But for now, the market still functions as much as it did in the 16th century and I am excited to catch a glimpse of the tradition!
Buyers from every culinary corner of the globe descend upon this place in the wee hours of the morning to fight and bid for the freshest and choicest catches straight from the fishing boats. Days from now, the finest restaurants around the globe will serve hungry sushi patrons the fish we see in front of us. Big fish, little fish and all sorts of other crustaceans are neatly packed on ice in Styrofoam boxes ready to be sold by the kilo.
Its still dark outside, and the incandescent glow of lights shines down on row after row of delectable raw seafood. Preoccupied with dodging speedy motorized three-wheeled carts that whiz by, the hustle and bustle of people helps me ignore the cold morning wind.
I put my amateur photography skills to the test while soaking in my first impressions of Tokyo. That’s when I spotted it. I could only imagine the eyes of eagerly awaiting sushi chefs, if they could catch a glimpse of this blue fin tuna! It its HUGE, massive! I have never seen a fish as big as this, it was twice the size of me!
As calculated and careful as an artist with his brush, the fish cutters dance around their giant prize as if to a choreographed routine, slicing and dicing at all the right places. As quickly as this giant fish was divvied up, it was packaged and rushed to make its international flight. At Tsujiki Fish Market, time is money, and there is a lot of money exchanging hands. One blue fin recently sold for $177,000 USD!
I sat there watching in amazement for about 20 minutes feeling conflicted. There is nothing better than a cut of top grade fresh sashimi, melting in your mouth. I love sushi (especially maguro and hamachi), but I couldn’t help but feel sad. I will probably never encounter a fish of this size scuba diving because there simply aren’t many left in the ocean. I read countless articles about mass over depletion of fish globally, and how over-fishing has devastated healthy populations of marine life… and I just can’t play the ignorant card.
Yet an hour later, I find myself waiting in huge line outside a small sushi restaurant for the freshest tuna over rice that I’ll ever find. Blind eye, party of one.
November 11th, 2009
No, Not Facebook and Twitter! My lifelines.
I am so annoyed. It says I’m connected to the wireless router but I can’t seem to get onto facebook. Or twitter. They are my lifelines to the outside world! How else am I supposed to stalk friends and read up on their status updates so I don’t have to call or hanging out with them?! Hey at least I’m speaking the truth. I’ve been without internet for a week in Thailand and jonesin’ for my fix. After about 20 minutes of playing around with my settings, I realize that BOTH facebook and twitter are censored in China! Public enemy number one on the Chinese government’s hit list! Blocking open source content in cyberspace is like trying to clean up all the plastics in the oceans, but leave it to the Chinese to try and suppress freedom of thought.
Ahhh…I am once again reminded that I’m in a communist country, The last time I was here were I was blatantly told that local authorities were after me in a province outside of Beijing for reporting on the AIDS problem in the countryside. Previous to that, I investigated the lack of religious freedom and persecution of Christian missionaries. Our missionary contact’s computer was confiscated and he fled the country soon thereafter our encounter. (The local authorities had been investigating him for sometime). I have had my fair share of run-ins with the Chinese government, and I didn’t intend to this time around.
With its pretty façade, Beijing puts on a good superficial show to convey its openness to the rest of the world, but it doesn’t take much to scratch beneath the surface of this beautifully manicured, new, and eerily squeaky clean city to find that EVERYTHING is monitored.
I give up trying to get online and head to out to explore the city. The bitterly sharp cold cuts through my light long sleeve wrap and yoga pants like a chilled razorblade and I feel completely exposed. I was definitely ill-prepared to battle the bone chilling 1C/32F temp. Anyone who knows me knows I’m like a tropical fish, I need the perfect temperature and environment to keep me sustained. The balmy 30C temperature in Thailand seemed light years away though it was only yesterday morning that I caught my last rays of equatorial sun.
I surrender to the outside elements and sprint to find shelter, careful not to step in the snow. Like an old friend smiling at me, the bright gleaming Starbucks logo in the brand new mega mall on Sanlitun Rd.,(an area frequented by expats and foreigners) invites me in for a non-fat sugar-free vanilla latte. As I look out the window de-thawing with my hot drink in hand I can’t help but think of the irony. The mall is home to legit retail stores like Columbia, Apple Store, and North Face, yet 10 minutes away stands one of the largest knock off markets in the world, Hong Qiao or Pearl Market. Once again, that’s China for you.
Oct 30th, 2009
Today we leave Phnom Penh by bus to Siem Reap, gatway to the temples of Angkor.
It’s a six hour bus ride, complete with funny Cambodian karaoke videos playing on the TV monitor and hard to understand tour guide. Along the roadside, villagers were selling fruit as well as fried crickets! I missed out on the fried spiders though.
At our bathroom break, two big brown eyes approach me. His little hands motion towards the bus as if we have an unspoken understanding that he wanted something from me. “Would you like some candy?” I asked him. His equally adorable little friend joins us, in matching torn and tattered attire and no shoes. Instead of handing out money, which would most likely end up in the wrong hands, I instinctively brought along some halloween candy—lifesaver gummies to be exact—to give to the kids.
In the Lonely Planet they refer to it as beggars fatigue. When visiting a country like Cambodia, it is expected that one will encounter many beggars and street peddlers. At first, I am inclined to give to all that ask, but I still feel internally conflicted about hand-outs. Would I be training kids to rely on foreigners to give them things? How harmful is a little candy? To solve the internal libra-like indecisiveness going on in my head, and really to make myself feel better, I hand over the gummies as well as the snack we received on the tour bus.
Their little hands wave at our window as we pull away from the bus stop and they seemed genuinely happy. Towering above them, a billboard reads, “Angkor is the jewel of Cambodia”. By the sheer amount of buses, planes, and boats transporting hundreds of tourists daily, I question how sparkly that jewel shines in this developing nation. Is it overshadowed by the poverty that surrounds it? Or the hordes of foreign tourists that come in the thousands to trample upon its ancient secrets? The sun sets over the rice paddies and casts a warm glow in the dusk sky. It fades to black and we arrive at our destination.