Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Our Daily Ocean: Day 60

On Monday-- not 5 minutes into our 20 minute clean up at Access 43-- we found the ultimate example of irresponsibility.  A broken beach chair, left for someone else to carry off the beach.  And one thing is blatantly obvious: whoever left it knew that they left it.  Unlike many things left on the beach... leaving a beach chair takes thought...  there is an exact moment when someone makes the conscious decision to pass off their responsibility and walk away.  (Oh how I wish I would've taken a picture of my daughter carrying the broken chair off the beach)

And I'm not going to lie... it's true that it can get a little disheartening going to the beach and seeing how people treat one of my most favorite places in the whole world.  BUT... as much as it's disheartening....I don't feel helpless...
Every time I take a photo, share what we find, exchange knowledge and personal experiences... I feel empowered.  Because everyday is an opportunity to help create awareness.

Awareness creates consciousness that helps to form change.

Something to think about:  We've picked up over 17,000 cigarette butts in 60 days.... making our average about 284 cigarette butts every 20 minutes.  Could you imagine if we picked up 284 water bottles every 20 minutes??  In my opinion, 284 of anything in 20 minutes is absolutely ridiculous.  I have a feeling that the people involved in creating this short video would also agree.

Last week, my Aunt and my cousin were on a 4th grade class field trip to the Mississippi River.  While dipping nets into the Mississippi to explore life in the river, one net came up with a cigarette butt.
With nothing to see, the students were to empty the net back into the river... BUT...a young girl questioned whether or not they should put a cigarette butt back in the river.  Having learned from what we've been doing, my Aunt quickly chimed in and let the teachers know that cigarette filters are made from a type of plastic.  (They had no idea!!)  Later that day, my Aunt forwarded the teachers my Brita FilterForGood film .... and the next day my cousin's 4th grade class-- in a small Iowa town-- watched my film in class. :)  YAY!!  I am so appreciative of my Aunt for saying something... and have so much gratitude for my cousin's teacher taking the time to teach students something that isn't in school books.
Here's what I'm thinking... err... feeling, right now: There are so many people in this world on this same mission to create change... and no matter how big a person's reach is-- whether to one person or thousands of people-- ripple effects are powerful and far reaching.  I have no doubts that change is going to come.

20 minutes on May 2, 2011 at Access 43

Litter by weight: 2 lbs 2.2 oz plus a broken beach chair
Cigarette butts: 151
The beach chair is broken... the aluminum frame is snapped. :( In an effort to keep it out of the trash, I'm going to be dropping it off at Re-Eco to be (hopefully) repurposed!! :)

Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 60 days: