Luxury Life & Style - (Page 44)
A FORCE FOR NATURE AN iNTERviEw wiTh hEAL ThE BAY A s South Bay residents we share a number of luxuries – a strong sense of community, a taste for the good life, an adventurous spirit, to name a few. We also enjoy one of the most coveted coastlines on the Pacific Ocean, spanning the bustling Pier in Manhattan Beach to the beautiful vistas of the Peninsula. It would be hard to image dayto-day life here without our Bay; its playful, peaceful nature effortlessly reflects our easygoing outlook. Founded more than 20 years ago by Los Angeles residents, Heal the Bay, a non-profit environmental agency, refuses to let the Santa Monica Bay go unchecked. Armed with a fourpronged strategy: science, advocacy, legislation and education, the organization is making considerable strides in improving both the quality and health of our beaches and waterways. 12,000-plus members strong, it is also one of the largest non-profit environmental groups in the County. Despite significant manpower, Heal the Bay cannot act alone. Reaching out to businesses, local and federal governments and the public at large has proven to be instrumental in their fight to keep costal waters clean. Their work creates better water conditions, leading to better health for its living inhabitants and all those who enjoy the bay recreationally on a regular basis. Their long list of achievements includes coauthoring, sponsoring and helping to implement the Education Initiative, a mandate for environmental education for all K-12 public school students in California. Since 1985, sewage pollution discharged into the Bay bas dropped by 90%, thanks in part to legal settlements requiring needed upgrades to the Hyperion Treatment Plant and the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant. As advocates for sign- Todd Klawin: Hi Karin, thanks for your time today. As denizens of the beach cities, many of our readers are likely familiar with and grateful for Heal the Bay. Tell us how things got started. Karin Hall: Heal the Bay started as very much a grass roots level organization almost 24 years ago around a single issue – sewage dumping into the ocean. At that time there was no staff, just a group of motivated and passionate people interested in working every day to ensure that what was being dumped into the ocean from the sewage treatment plant was treated in a better way. Our success there had a huge impact on the quality of the water in the Bay and all of Southern California. Today we have a staff of 48, a network of hundreds of the most incredible volunteers, and thousands of people who come out for Coastal Cleanup Day. TK: And the focus of the organization has TK: I’m told that you had a very different line of work before joining Heal the Bay. How did you come to join the organization? KH: Prior to joining Heal the Bay I was working 80-hour weeks as an account person in marketing and advertising. It just got to the point where I never had enough time to do volunteer work, and I really wanted to do that. I started to take a new look at what I was doing and what I could possibly do in the future. I went away on a vacation and thought about it and made the decision to try something different. Not two weeks later I got a call about an opportunity with Heal the Bay, and it was just the right thing for me. I’m an avid sailor and diver. I’ve lived on the beach for 20 years. I love the ocean. It was a dream opportunity and this is a dream job. Everything that I had done in the past was not wasted, but was able to be translated into running this organization. And it’s so fun to do. Instead of fighting over a word in an ad, now I get to fight over words in legislation! Everyone involved in our organization has such passion. Our staff. Our board of directors. Our volunteers. Everyone. They all do it for the same 44 Luxury Life & Style March/April 2008 Photo of Karin Hall by Christine Ladd Huffman, claddhuffman.com. Cleanup bags: photo courtesy Heal the Bay. ing the Clean Beach Initiative into law, Heal the Bay pushed for $78 million to help clean up the state’s most polluted beaches. They also helped pass Proposition O, a city of Los Angeles measure that dedicates $500 million to cleaning up local waters. Every week the organization releases the Beach Report CardTM, a water quality update for more than 460 beaches. In addition to educating thousands of volunteers yearly for Coastal Cleanup Day or reaching schools and companies though their Speakers Bureau, Heal the Bay also runs an aquarium under the carousel at the Santa Monica Pier, inviting the public to learn more about local marine life and ways to protect their environment. Publisher Todd Klawin spoke with Heal the Bay’s Executive Director Karin Hall to discuss the momentum of their efforts, specifically here in the South Bay. broadened considerably since your founding around a single issue too hasn’t it? KH: It has. Today we’re a much larger organization. We do a tremendous amount of educational and advocacy work. We have the Beach Report Card, which posts grades on water quality from Oregon to the Mexican Border. We work with local counties and health departments to do the water testing, and we do the analysis and assign a grade. It’s a great tool for people who are using the ocean and a great tool for identifying problem areas, which can lead to solutions. We are also well known for our beach cleanups. We run hundreds of beach cleanups during the years with schools, corporations and groups of all types.
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Seen in the South Bay
Seen in the South Bay
Luxury Life & Style