I’ve always felt there is something magical about being near the ocean, particularly on the beach. The smell of salt, a cool breeze on your face, the relaxing hum of the waves breaking, and all those negative ions. It’s nice being On the Beach.
My sister and brother-in law (some of my favorite people) live near the beach and I was fortunate to be able to visit them last week. We enjoyed beautiful weather and the beach. We saw people taking pleasure in a walk near the water, relaxing with a book, playing in the surf, looking for hidden treasures, building sand castles, or just working on their tan. Beaches are truly a treasure of our beautiful world.
So, it is hard to imagine that we, as a society, would purposefully want to injure or destroy this treasure. But, it seems that’s what we’re doing. Maybe we’re not personally trashing the beach, or the ocean – somebody else – some disposal company – is actually doing the trashing. But we are contributing. Every day we are generating waste, much of which ends up in the ocean.
During my visit, I was fortunate to participate in a beach clean-up effort. This particular clean-up, sponsored by 4Ocean (known for bracelets and recycling efforts) and Tervis (known for carry-around tumblers), relied on volunteers to LITERally pick up trash left – or washed up – on the beach. This effort appeared highly successful. When we arrived, there were hundreds of volunteers of all ages standing in line before the announced “start time” waiting to sign in and pick up their bags and gloves. Quite a community effort that is occurring all over the country. Seeing this was encouraging – especially watching children and young people learning this is what we do… we take care of the beach…. and we take care of our world. We don’t want to injure it. Seeing that makes me very hopeful.
Environmental groups were on hand sharing information about recycling as well as new products, like toothpaste in a metal tube and take-out containers made of fully compostable materials. They also provided suggestions you can share with the manager of your local restaurants about eliminating use of plastic utensils, bags, cups, straws, and polystyrene clamshell containers.
And maybe as people continue to spread the word, and by their actions, more individuals will join them – not just on the beach but in thinking about how important all of these efforts are to our world. And through education, these people can influence others, including our leaders, who must make policy decisions regarding what is important. How do we, as a society, address issues of pollution and of climate change? These issues are continuing to garner attention due largely to the urgency. Collectively, individuals can make a difference in these discussions and that is what I want my efforts to accomplish – making a difference one choice at a time.
In an earlier post (Single-Use Plastic) I listed some of the ways I was contributing to this large problem and some steps I planned to address this problem. In response to that post I’ve been gratified to learn that many people felt the same way, and planned to take their own steps. Enjoying some time on the beach reminded me of how important efforts to save our world are. I’m sure the 90% of sea birds that have eaten plastic will appreciate it.