Ocean Play, the Sustainable Way – the Importance of Using Reef-Safe Sunscreen

The chance to explore the warm, bright blue waters and vibrant coral reefs of Maui is one of the biggest draws for visitors to our island paradise. It’s nothing short of magical to watch colorful reef fish dart amongst the coral heads beneath you while graceful, lumbering green sea turtles meander…

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Plastic Free Life

Five practical tips to reduce plastic, starting today.

Re-use glass jars. There are a ton of prepared foods you can purchase in glass jars; think pasta sauce, peanut butter, salsa, pickles and so on. Instead of buying plastic containers, re-use your jars for leftovers, packed lunches or keep them for storing your…

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Top 10 Ways To Celebrate Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day, we wanted to share 10 ways to engage with Mother Nature. You probably already recycle, so here are ten alternative ways to help the planet:

10. Participate in a citizen science project to help marine life. Whale & Dolphin Tracker is a mobile web-application to report sightings of…

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Protecting the Ocean, One Purchase at a Time


Healthy oceans depend on a lot of factors – one of the most important being you and me. Our choices as consumers have a profound influence on the future of the marine environment, and believe it or not, can affect the smallest algae to the largest whale. Unfortunately, the manufacturing consumer products typically comes with a big environmental…

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PWF Awarded Sustainable Tourism Certification

Eco-Adventures Hawaii

Since its inception 35 years ago, Pacific Whale Foundation has remained committed to not only educating the public about the ocean environment, but also ensuring that our operations are as environmentally friendly as possible. We work to reduce our overall environmental impact, and have been an industry leader when it comes to practices like pumping,…

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The Plastic Problem: Part I "What are Plastics"


Plastics are everywhere – from cell phones to soda bottles, to trash on the beach and in our oceans. Yet while our lives are dominated by plastic, plastics and their environmental impacts are still largely misunderstood by many people. This three part series explores plastics—from their creation to what happens once they go in your trash can or recycling bin. Part I begins by answering the first big question: “What are plastics?!” 

While some plastics are naturally found in the environment, the majority are man-made. Man-made plastics are created when individual carbon molecules are chemically bonded together. These carbon molecules are typically extracted from oil, a non-renewable resource, but more eco-friendly alternatives use carbon derived from natural materials like corn oil. Individual carbon molecules are combined to create compounds like styrene, ethylene and formaldehyde. 

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Hawai'i Conservation Conference


Today marked the final day of the 22nd annual Hawai’i Conservation Conference, where the “who’s who” of the protection and management of Hawaiian ecosystems descend upon the island of O’ahu to discuss issues such as coral reef health, marine mammal protection, climate change adaptation and building local capacity.


I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to exhibit Pacific Whale Foundation’s fishing line recycling program during the conference, and connected with numerous individuals and organizations to help expand this important program throughout Hawai’i.

Fishing line wrapped around a coral head (Maui)

Fishing line wrapped around a coral head (Maui)

Popularized in Florida, fishing line recycling programs are now found throughout coastal states, and represent a voluntary, community-based environmental initiative. Anglers and fishermen are encouraged to not only recycle their line, but to sponsor bins that they (along with their community) will maintain in the future.

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This July 4th, Pledge to Clean Beaches!

Honestly, who doesn’t love 4th of July? It’s the biggest neighborhood block party of the year, complete with family, friends and plates stacked high with Bar-B-Que.
But did you know that July 4th also represents one of the biggest inputs of trash into environment?! Beaches become strewn with red SOLO cups and fried chicken boxes, and bits and pieces of fireworks litter the sand.

Pacific Whale Foundation Ocean Campers count the trash they collected during a recent beach cleanup

Many people don’t realize the impact that trash can have our marine and coastal environments. Not only is trash on a beach unsightly, it also poses serious health risks to humans and wildlife.

Sea birds, whales, dolphins, turtles and fish, for example, regularly come into contact with trash. Oftentimes these animals mistake this trash (especially plastic) for food. Ingesting plastic can perforate an animal’s stomach or block their esophagus, which leads, ultimately, to starvation.

By cleaning our beaches, we can reduce the amount of trash that gets into the ocean, and therefore create a healthier environment for humans and marine life!

The GOOD NEWS is that so many of us care about the ocean. We care about the fish that swim under the waves and the birds that soar overhead. By working together, and each taking steps to change our lifestyles just a little bit at a time, we can clean up our beaches and ocean!


Your task for this Fourth of July, then, is to celebrate our day of Independence, while also taking the pledge to clean beaches.

Here are FOUR simple ways that you can make a difference on the 4th!

1. Find alternatives to single-use plastics: More and more people now utilize reusable cloth bags in place of plastic bags, but what about things like plastic forks or straws? Purchase a reusable knife/fork set that you can keep in your purse or car for those times when you have to hit the drive-thru or are dining out. Bringing a small Tupperware for leftovers will also help you avoid using Styrofoam containers.

2. Share this Blog Post: Education is key to cleaning up our environment. Sharing your knowledge about the impact of single-use plastics and trash with your friends and family members requires the simple click of a button, but could make a world of difference for our ocean.

3. Host a Beach Cleanup: Headed to the beach for the Fourth of July? While the burgers are cooking and the football is being thrown, gather some of your friends and family members to walk the beach and pick up trash. Even 5 or 10 minutes spent cleaning is important to animals like turtles or dolphins that may later mistake that trash for food. Don’t forget to wear gloves and bring extra trash bags!

4. Write your Local Representatives: The island of Maui ceased the use of plastic bags on January 1, 2011. Most recently, Maui County passed a law outlawing smoking and tobacco use on County beaches. These laws were passed because the residents of Maui spoke up and we asked our local government to help make a positive difference for our environment. Speak up and let’s make a difference.

Inspired to take even more action? Download Pacific Whale Foundation’s 10 Ways to Protect Our Oceans fact sheet – it will get you pointed in the right direction!

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