Purge the Plastic Meets Bend’s Surfrider Foundation

We were very happy to be invited to have a table and meet everyone who attended the February Surfrider Foundation event in Bend. It was hosted at OSU Cascades and the food was great (pizza!) and more.

We had just gotten our “Purge the Plastic” stickers and it was amazing to see how much people liked them. We gave away stickers to people who signed our pledge form and offered to share their ideas with us. Others donated $1 to our budget and got a sticker.

We thought we knw a lot about plastic and recycling but we learned even more from Ani Kasch who presented her “Rethink Waste” talk. It is so sad to think that even when people might think they are doing the right thing by recycling plastic they are actually making the situation worse by putting the wrong things in a recycling bin. In the end, the only way we are going to make a difference is by REFUSING plastic any way we can.


We also met some local Bend community members who are working in schools just like we are. In fact, if you go to their website there is plenty of information how YOU (or anyone) can take the pledge and get involved. Here is the link. 

A video is a great way to share a mission in a story that is fun and easy to understand. Take a look at the “Be the Change” video from No2Plastic.

Planning a Project vs Single Use Plastic

Ella and I are serious about completing our application for our Ocean Heroes project with a goal to design a local and positive solution to the way plastic water bottles are sold and used in our schools and in our community. We got together in early December to brainstorm, decide on research and tasks and to answer some of the important questions in the application.

Once the holidays are over we will get together and complete the application by the deadline. When you have to do a big project the only way to get it done on time is to start early and break it down into small steps.

It’s the same with getting rid of single use plastic – you do a small thing again and again. That’s the way to create a bigger “SNOWBALL OF SOLUTIONS.” (You can see the most recent video Ella and I created here)
Five hundred billion plastic bottles are used around the globe annually. It is not an easy problem to work on – but we know that each of us can make a difference.

Some information about Ocean Heroes and the 2019-2020 theme:

More than 300 international youth activists, ages 11 to 18, from more than 20 countries and 32 U.S. states are collaborating worldwide to fight plastic pollution through the second annual Ocean Heroes Bootcamp, which took place June 28-30 at the University of British Columbia and Ocean Wise in Vancouver, British Columbia. I was one of the youngest kids that attended. There were hundreds of high school students.

From their website: Co-founded by Captain Planet Foundation, Lonely Whale and Point Break Foundation, Ocean Heroes Bootcamp empowers existing and emerging youth leaders to create campaigns that measurably reduce plastic pollution in their communities around the world.

The 2019 bootcamp, which came after the Lonely Whale and Point Break Foundation’s “Question How You Hydrate” campaign, targeted single-use plastic water bottles and share solutions to hydrating without plastic. Five hundred billion plastic bottles are used around the globe annually. Ocean Heroes Bootcamp gave us some critical campaigning skills and empowered us with the knowledge and network needed to drive a global movement for clean seas.

“After nearly three decades of working with young environmental changemakers, we can honestly say that the way THIS generation of young people is stepping up to solve the twin crises of climate change and deteriorating ocean health is unprecedented,” said Leesa Carter-Jones, president and CEO of Captain Planet Foundation, in a statement. “Single-use plastics contribute significantly to both these crises, and companies who are in the business of producing and/or distributing single-use plastic items are being put on notice—these young people plan to affect change quickly and for the long term.”


A Great Surprise – Zero Plastic Water Bottles

We all can make a difference. I learned yesterday that my 2018 video (Snowball of Solutions) asking the sports community to stop using plastic water bottles inspired Geoff Frank and the team at Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe to search for ways to replace the 4000+ water bottles they usually sold in the summer.

Geoff talked with the Deschutes Brewery and they listened. That’s the “ripple effect” in action. And that’s how Deschutes canned water was born in 2019. It became the solution for those without reusable bottles.

Last summer Tumalo sold zero plastic bottles. You can only imagine how happy that made me! Also, Dan McGarigle of Pine Mountain Sports also credits the film for inspiring him and his team to swap plastic bottles for reusable, or cans and glass. Click for video

Now, here’s my request: I am asking all of Central Oregon stores along with Visit Bend Oregon to swap plastic for reusable and canned water. Support our kids and be a part of the Snowball of Solutions. Please share this message with other outdoor stores! Share in all your social media.

YOU can be part of the SNOWBALL OF SOLUTIONS.

Reflections on Ocean Heroes BootCamp (Summer 2019)

I attended the Ocean Heroes BootCamp last summer in Vancouver Canada. It was a huge gathering of kids ages 11-18 and maybe some even older. I was happy to see so many kids and teens being active for the environment – especially against plastic and for the ocean. Sometimes I felt very sad after hearing the statistics about pollution and how sick the earth and the Oceans are.

No matter how huge the problems are, I have decided to keep on sharing solutions. I have videos on my VIDEO page. Lately my friend, Ella, has been working on solution videos with me. Each of us can be part of the solution.

Julia Alvarado, age 11, November 2019

After my Aunt Judy Shasek told me about Ocean Heroes Bootcamp I decided that I should go to learn more about the earth and how I can save it. My aunt nominated me and i was accepted. I was so glad that my mom, Michelle, was able to go with me. There was a sort of camp that parents went to while the kids did their own things.

  • I was already doing some things in my community. You can read about them on my BLOG links.

For over a year I have spoken at a lot of events and schools. I made videos and I tried to have everyone join my snowball of solutions. My first video showed how how one piece of trash that was left on the mountain can go into the ocean.

  • Some of the sessions at Boot Camp were long. Most were very interesting and I learned a lot. I learned that all the plastic ever created still exists and too much is now broken down into micro plastic. There are 8 trillion tons of plastic in the ocean. My favorite part was visiting the aquarium.

Shelby O’Neil who did the No Straw November campaign in Monterey – was my favorite presenter.

I also learned how to make my pitch better. I made another video with my mom about a local sports shop was inspired by my Snowball of solutions campaign and swapped out plastic for cans and reusable bottles instead of selling drinks in plastic. They use powder for sports drinks. I was asked to speak at the conservation summit in September to a community audience at the college. I’ve always been comfortable speaking in public. I like to be able to use that skill – and my theater and video skills – to inspire others.

Earth Day and the Sustainability Fair

The “snowball of solutions” keeps on rolling. In the past week I participated in two very different events with more to come. I had a great time, even in the rain, at the Bend Earth Day celebration last Saturday. My pictures from that event are here.

Then on Monday I was invited by Pine Mountain Sports to be at a booth and share my video at the Sustainability Fair hosted by the Redmond Proficiency Academy.

“We look forward to learning about how we can make environmentally conscious choices that directly impact the world around us,” said co-organizer and high school science instructor Amy Mitchell.

The Science and Sustainability Fair supports environmental and resource sustainability by showcasing student research and hosting local organizations with a mission centered around promoting sustainable options in the community. I was really glad to be able to share my video and talk to so many people.

Thanks to Pine Mountain Sports for thinking of me and my video for the booth. (Read more about how we connected and their “no single use plastic” changes to their store in my April 17, 2019 blog post)

A Snowball Keeps Rolling

I went over to Pine Mountain Sports the local Bend business owned by Dan McGarigle that put on Powder-Hound Film Festival. That’s where I first got to show my video. When I went in I got a nice greeting by everyone there who recognized me from my video.

But the best greeting I got was from Paco. He is the one who was inspired by me. I know inspired by kid is hard to Believe that – huh.

I learned that they are starting to sell glass and reusable plastic bottles instead of one use plastic bottles. And with your bottle you will get a drink package which I think is really cool. You can buy Gatorade as powder and get a reusable bottle instead of using a one-use bottle. You can see in this picture all the bottles around us.  I encourage you to go to Pine Mountain sports and check it out. 

This is a great example of the “ripple effect.” I am one person who made a video about why my family and I do not use single-use plastic water bottles. We use bottles that can be filled hundred of times. My video was shown to about 450 people in November 2018. I don’t know how many habits I inspired, but I do know that Paco from Pine Mountain Sports was inspired.

Now, every time a person wants to buy a beverage at Pine Mountain Sports they will learn about their commitment to not having single use plastic bottles. The ripple effect will keep on spreading out into the world.

We can all do that one thing. You never know who you might inspire or how you can help the environment and the ocean.

                                                                  – Julia

Video Tells the Story

My first video project for this website was called “Snowball Saves the Sea.” I was the youngest filmmaker to be accepted into a film event in my community called “Powder Hound.” Most of the films showed adventures snowboarding or skiing. Mine was the first environmental film. I was so surprised when everyone stood and gave the film a standing ovation for the film. I am glad that the owner of Pine Mountain Sports, Dan McGarigle created that film festival and gave me a chance to share my film.

As I add more video projects I will link to them on this  page VIDEO

Here is my first video:

Hello world! Snowball of Solutions: The Beginning

Hi I’m Julia and I’m a “powder hound.” What’s a Powder Hound? It’s someone who loves the snow. I love to play in the snow all winter long.

You might wonder – how can a snowball save the sea. Follow my blog to find out.

In the summer I like to play in the ocean. One day I thought the coolest thing. What if the snow I was in all winter went down to the ocean that I was in some of the summer? Is that even possible?

So I got out a map of Oregon and I saw that the lakes and rivers and the ocean were all connected. In my next blog I’ll tell you more about my story!