Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Vacation

It's been three weeks now since we packed our bags and then headed out the door for our California vacation. No doubt, traveling is hard on the environment... all the fuel needed to get our family of 5 across the country makes me feel all guilty.   And believe me...as much as I would love to take a different route--like drive in lieu of flying--quite frankly, driving 1000 miles is my maximum right now ;))

Just like I am always thinking and acting on how we can minimize our impact on the environment everyday...  it only makes sense that we do the same while traveling

SO... we started off our trip with our 6 (empty) water bottles, two coffee (in my case, tea) mugs and some homemade granola bars for the LONG flight to Los Angeles.


Our water bottles are well traveled and our pockets are well lined because of it. As we visited so many different places along the SoCal coast... we could only imagine the money that we would've spent on bottled water (or flavored drinks) if we hadn't brought our own.  They've been everywhere we've been...

3 different airports, on a ride down the coast from LA to San Diego (and back again), Oceanside, El Cajon, San Diego Wild Animal Park, The Midway, San Diego Maritime Museum, Balboa Park (San Diego), a Bushwalla and Dawn Mitschele show, Legoland (2x!), strawberry picking in Carlsbad, Corona del Mar, Santa Monica (2x!), Disneyland, a couple of beaches and everywhere in between! 

Seriously, anyone who ever says that they can't afford to buy a reusable water bottle hasn't done the math... I'd venture to say that had we not brought our own reusable water bottles that we would have easily spent hundreds of dollars on bottled water. How do I figure? Well, between a family of 5 we easily drink at least 6 (big) bottles of water a day-- if not more-- while we're out and about.  Airports and places of interest charge out the wazoo for bottled water... most I saw were $2.75 each. We were traveling for 11 days...

Really though, we don't choose not to buy bottled water because we're frugal... we don't buy it because it's more than just a waste of money.... bottled water is a waste of resources.  The companies that produce bottled water do so at an environmental cost to the communities that they extract the water from... and as I learned from Sara of The Daily Ocean... "if you fill a plastic bottle about 1/4th of the way up with petroleum... that is approximately how much petroleum needed to make that one plastic bottle."  With the man-made disaster in the Gulf of Mexico... that's a visual that we all need to start thinking about when we see plastic bottles.

Speaking of Sara, we met up with her in Santa Monica to participate in doing a 20 minute beach clean-up.  For 20 minutes, we talked and walked... and as we walked we picked up litter off the beach.  Read about the time we spent with Sara and how much trash we picked up in a very leisurely 20 minutes: http://thedailyocean.blogspot.com/2010/07/day-130-july-16-2010.html

Of course, our litter picking up didn't start or end in Santa Monica with Sara.  (Sure, I know that we were on vacation... but it doesn't take much time to bend over, pick up and put the trash where it belongs.) We picked up litter everywhere we went... Oceanside, Corona del Mar beaches, and ALL of the places we walked.   Unfortunately, we could never get it all... but picking up one piece of litter is better than doing nothing at all.  (Please take that phrase and insert any impact that you have doubt about... like this: " ___________ is better than doing nothing at all."

 Which as I'm typing I realize that I've gone on an unexpected tangent... but here were are.  And now I'm thinking about starfish...

"A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
 
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t possibly save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
 
The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,
 
“Well, I made a difference to that one!”
 
The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined...."
 
Just imagine the possibilities :)
 
Doing SOMETHING is still SOMETHING... 
and it ALL matters.