Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Our Daily Ocean: Day 85

A year ago yesterday, one mom (that's "me") and three kids went to Wrightsville Beach, NC to start an experiment.  Pick up litter for 20 minutes and count the amount of cigarette butts we find.  August 9, 2010 we picked up 346 cigarette butts in 20 minutes....a year later, we've picked up an additional 25,454 cigarette butts... (!! insane, I know !!)  Last night, we headed back (with some help) to that same spot where it all started....

A lot happened this past year... a lot of AMAZING wonderful things have happened.  Not long after I published my first post, I started to receive comments and emails from people telling me that this blog was going to have a bigger impact than I knew...  (they were right)
Then in mid-September, on a whim, before I really knew anything about how bad cigarette litter really is... I entered my project in the Brita FilterForGood Film Project.  It's now been 8 months since three amazing and talented guys came and filmed our family of five for 3 days to make a short film meant to motivate and inspire people to become active in their own communities...

Over the past year, I helped get BaitTanks installed at WB, went to the Sundance Film Festival, got messages from friends saying they saw me on the Sundance Channel (!!), ...but best of all... I've gotten emails from all over the world from people sharing with me how what I'm doing has inspired them and what things they're doing to help clean up our world.  I am so thankful for every person that has taken the time to reach out to me...  in the moments when I'm so over picking up cigarettes or doubt that what I'm doing matters... it's your words that help keep me motivated :)

In saying that, I've connected with the MOST amazingly supportive and inspiring people (I really want to make a list, but it would be SO long and I know that you all know who you are :) )... proof to me that when we give without expectations... the most amazing "gifts" come barreling towards us... it's true that we indeed "get what we give."  I have so much gratitude for every person who has joined my family and me at Wrightsville Beach this past year to help make it a little bit cleaner -- including our neighbors who helped us clean up last night.  :)

...reminiscing is fun.  I'm just feeling so much gratitude for the past year... this project has gotten more attention than I ever could have ever imagined... Thanks to all of the media outlets and bloggers who have taken the time to do a story on this mom trying to make a difference in our world. :)

Hmmm... if you know me personally... you know how I would often say, "I'm *just* a mom" ... but so much has changed because of this simple project.  So when earlier in the year I saw this quote I felt it completely summed up this whole "Our Daily Ocean" year:

"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and your discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be." ~Patanjali

I didn't know what would happen when I decided to do something... in fact, I still don't.  I'm not sure how long we'll be picking up and counting cigarette butts....  I don't have a time frame for making a difference.  I do what I can do... as much as I can do...  and remind myself that it all started with reaching out to a stranger, then taking time to pick up one...

20 minutes on August 9, 2011 at Access 43

Litter by weight: 5 lbs .9 oz
Cigarette butts: 378

Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 85 days: