We’re excited to share that this month’s giving partner is Heal the Bay—based out of our west coast home, SoCal. As an environmental non-profit they are dedicated to making the coastal waters and watersheds of Greater Los Angeles safe, healthy and clean.

By empowering local communities, monitoring water quality, and advocating for restoration, Heal the Bay is working toward a greener, bluer LA County for everyone and we are so proud to support their local efforts.

We caught up Dr. Shelley Luce, the President and CEO of Heal the Bay to chat about their impact and how our community can come together to join their mission. Follow along to learn what you can do to help keep our precious waters clean (even if you’re not a California-er).

Heal the Bay was founded back in 1985 by Dorothy Green and a group of Los Angeles residents who were fed up with pollution in the Santa Monica Bay. By coming together, they successfully brought an end to Hyperion Sewage—treatment plants dumping off semi-treated wastewater into the Bay. Dorothy and her tribe’s grassroots legacy lives on to this day and Dr. Shelley Luce continues paving the way.

Luce began her advocacy career at Heal the Bay, where she began as a staff scientist from 2001-2005. “I learned so much about water policy during that time, as well as how to work with the community and scientists to advocate for clean water. I went on to other organizations and continued working on California water issues, and then was thrilled to return to Heal the Bay as President and CEO in 2017”, explained Dr. Shelley.

Curious to learn the strides that Heal the Bay has taken to make a change and how you can get involved? We were too so let’s dive in!

#1—What does a typical day look like at Heal the Bay?

“My day begins with getting my kids off to school, then taking the Metro to our office in Santa Monica. I often meet with local representatives, partners and members of the public to discover new information and listen to feedback about our environmental issues. I then gather my Heal the Bay team to discuss our science, education and advocacy work. We want to make sure we’re caught up on campaigns and can determine our policy priorities.

I visit the Heal the Bay Aquarium at the Santa Monica Pier to check in on the caring and feeding of our new, baby Giant Sea Bass along with all of the other favorited sea creatures. I always make sure to take a moment to connect with our Board of Directors so we can discuss how we continue to foster public awareness and participation. My day ends with following up on lots of emails, and reading environmental policy and scientific reports. On the ride home, I scroll through my Instagram feed—I get serious FOMO seeing friends, colleagues and even total strangers take part in environmental movements, research expeditions and global coalitions that address climate change amongst other pressing issues. I get a lot of inspiration seeing how our local work translates to global impact!”

#2—What has been the most impactful project for Heal the Bay?

“From banning the single-use plastic bag in California to keeping big oil out of the Santa Monica Bay, Heal the Bay has won some major victories, but our fight for clean water is never over. Last year, Heal the Bay celebrated a huge win when a coalition that we helped form, the OurWaterLA Coalition, secured the passage of Measure W. This means that LA County will begin to capture and reuse millions of gallons of stormwater each year, instead of allowing that runoff to pollute our ocean. Our staff dedicated so much time and effort to raise awareness about this ballot measure. We collaborated with dozens of diverse local groups. We made videos and infographics. We hosted events and workshops. We commented on proposed policy language and fought for nature-based and equitable clean water solutions.

All of this work paid off at the ballot box with nearly 70% of Angelenos voting Yes in support of funding new, green stormwater capture projects in their neighborhoods.” 

#3—How can the Greater LA audience take part?

Give Time: You can volunteer with Heal the Bay. Connect with our ocean and waterways in LA, by rolling up your sleeves at a cleanup. Take long walks on the beach and monitor Marine Protected Areas with binoculars. Help educate the public at Heal the Bay Aquarium. Speak to business groups about sustainability and best practices. 

Give Money: You can have a big impact with a financial gift to Heal the Bay. With 75 cents of every donated dollar supporting science-based advocacy, grassroots community outreach, and award-winning educational programs, your donation is a smart investment. 

Give Voice: Our advocates always move the needle. Sign our Plastic Petition and share a message on social media to spread ocean and watershed health awareness and love. Sign up for our monthly Blue e-newsletter to learn about new campaigns and opportunities to get involved.” 

#4— How can I do my part if I am not located in California?

“No matter where you live, you can become a member of Heal the Bay and help keep our ocean clean by visiting our website. And you can always take steps to improve the waters near you: 

Research local environmental nonprofits and volunteer. Educate yourself about local water quality issues. Connect with advocates and your local representatives to speak out for change. Observe your daily choices and opt for reusables and renewables instead of single-use plastics and disposables. Get out into nature, take a friend with you and soak up the natural environment you love. Use your strengths to do good! Remember, global change starts locally.”

#5—Do you think Heal the Bay will expand outside of the Greater LA area?

“Our environmental nonprofit is well known for beach cleanups in LA, but we do so much more. We work on water policy that affects the entire state, including conservation, clean water regulations, marine protections and more. 

We mobilize Southern California’s diverse communities to protect our coastline, restore our waterways and speak out for smart water policy.

Our award-winning education at Heal the Bay Aquarium, a marine science education center, transforms students of all ages into inquisitive, enthusiastic ambassadors. We educate 100,000 youth and families a year at our Aquarium and many folks are from all over the world taking what they learned here back home with them. 

Our Plastic Petition has reached over 411,000 people worldwide and counting. The concern that single-use plastics are wreaking havoc on our neighborhoods and natural environments is universal. Heal the Bay’s plastic pollution work in California can serve as a template for other cities and places to adopt strong reduction, reuse and recycling environmental policies.

We also monitor beach water quality on the West Coast of the United States in an A-to-F letter grade format because we believe water quality information should be easily accessible. Once we secure additional funding our plan is to expand the Beach Report Card globally, so everyone can have easy access to the latest water quality information near them.”

We are eternally grateful for Heal the Bays’s work and are excited to see all that will flourish from our partnership. Stay tuned!

We hope you enjoyed learning about Heal the Bay as much as we did. Continue to follow along our journey together on social @AvocadoMattress and @HealtheBay.

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