58- Algae Bloom and Algae Block with Doug Dickie

Perhaps you've seen the rather disturbing pictures of swarms of floating, dead fish. Or maybe you heard about the public health warning telling people to avoid contact with the water at Utah Lake this summer. Algae Bloom is a serious problem. Today Doug Dickie (check out the Carbon One episode) returns to the show to discuss the science and issues behind algal bloom and a possible solution, Algae Block.

I learned about this app in Hawaii. It turns litter clean up into a fun competition. It's great for kids and for everyone, and can be used anywhere with any amount of time that you have.  


Hey, hey, what is up everyone? This is Ete with another episode of Eco Lawn Science. I am back from my trip to Oahu. I did a few interviews there. I hope you heard my last one with Spencer Ingley, BYU professor, ecologist, environmentalist, whatever you want to call him. He's the man and I love that episode. Today I want to share a quick tool that he actually shared with me after the interview that is so awesome that I just hope that everybody can go and download it because it's kind of a game changing tool in some ways. And what it is, it's an app called Clean Swell, C-L-E-A-N, swell, S-W-E-L-L. It's a free app and it's actually put on by the Ocean Conservancy, which was part of Spencer's trip to Antarctica. They worked with Airbnb. But this app is awesome. What they did is they gamified litter pickup and I looked at a few different apps that are doing this, but I liked this one the most.

I know they use this a lot in Hawaii and what they do is, so what my experience with it was on a Saturday in Hawaii, a lot of people, they do beach cleanups a lot because there's so much garbage that rolls up on their shores from all these countries around the ocean, around the world, and they use this app and people just show up. But the cool thing is you can use this app any day of the week anywhere you are. So if you have 10 minutes and you say, I want to make a difference or I want to do service or I want to give back, I don't care how much time you have or where you are, you open up your Clean Swell app and there's a home button, a history button, a profile button, and then what you do is you hit start collecting, you put your date and you put how many people are with you and then your type of cleanup.

So it could be a mountain cleanup, it could be a trail or a beach cleanup or a street, anything. And then it's cool. You hit start my collection and you literally pick up garbage. But what you do is it has a bunch of icons. So if you pick up, let's say pick up five straws, you tap the stroll icon five times. So there's icons for all the different types of garbage that you could pick up. And the reason that's important is we need to start, we need to track those things so that we could see, okay, first of all, what is the biggest litter that's happening here and what do we need to do to change it? So if we're finding a million straws and nothing else, all right, well we need to start looking at maybe some local companies that are, that are selling straws and figure out, okay, why are so many getting dumped in the street? Is there any way to educate people more or can we switch over?

And so the idea is you can kind of not only make a difference by removing litter and doing some good, you can do anytime you want with as many people as you want. You can do a service and give back and you can actually track the type of item so we can really see what is impacting whatever the area that you're, that you're working on. And maybe you can make a difference there. One of the fun things is if you go to the "my history", when you're done, it shows how many cleanups you've done, the time you've spent, the distance covered and the pounds of trash. So it's kind of like I said, they gamified it. I mean, I'm looking at this man, I want to get to a hundred pounds of trash. All right, I better get back out there. 

I have a 9 year-old son and you know, if I want to teach him, hey, you know what, we got an hour today, let's go do some service and we don't have anything else that we're focused on that day. Maybe instead of, if there's no one around us that needs help, we can just go out and pick up and clean up the streets and in our own ways, we can all make a difference while having fun. Kids love that. You get badges, the more stuff you pick up, um, and it connects you, like Dr. Ingley was saying, with the environment, and it reminds you how important it is and it reminds you to put your, you know, use less and put your stuff away. 

Anyway, that's all it is. Clean Swell. Get the app. Make a difference. And hope you enjoyed this little tip. Have a great day.

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