Monday, August 29, 2011

Our Daily Ocean: Day 91

The whole time that Hurricane Irene was barreling down here on Friday and Saturday, I kept thinking about going to Wrightsville Beach.  So... obviously, as soon as Wrightsville Beach lifted the "RESTRICTED ACCESS" on Saturday late afternoon... my friend Tracy, her daughter, my two youngest and I hopped in the car without any hesitation and headed to Wrightsville Beach! :)

Hurricanes are so powerful... reshaping the beaches... giving and taking.... helping the ocean purge.

 I can't tell you enough how the beach after a hurricane (even a big offshore storm) is one of the most amazing things!  I'm continually left in awe of the ocean's power...
The power to change the beach is the power to uncover things that had been long left behind and buried in the sand... now left uncovered by the oceans waves.  Normally, I kick over the wrack line and pick up all of the litter embedded in the organic debris: plastics, straws, caps, cigarette butts... but the wrack line was so littered on the surface that it was hard to focus, let alone dig deeper.

Honestly, I haven't been overwhelmed in awhile... but I really couldn't find focus... there was just so much.  For example, Tracy and I picked up a record 92 plastic bottle caps.  It was insane... every direction we looked bottle caps were there.

I've been trying to figure out how to explain the overwhelmed feeling I had on Saturday... then I hopped on over to WB-- Keep It Clean and read this:

"As I was walking today, one thing that I found really overwhelming was the number of cigarette butts. There were so many that I couldn't even focus on picking them up-- I didn't know where to start. It got me thinking about how Mother Teresa once said, "If I look at all this mass, I will never act." .... if we see one cigarette butt on an otherwise pristine beach, it is easy to pick it up, throw it away, blame the sole smoker for being careless, and move on. But when we walk down the beach and see 1,000 cigarette butts, which ones do we pick up? Where do we start? And whom do we blame? I think this is why so many people walk past the cigarette butts and don't stop to pick them up. The enormity of the problem is so great." 

It completely sums up how I felt picking up litter on Saturday... there was no end in sight... sure I had 20 minutes... but this wasn't a day at the beach... this was DAYS and MONTHS at the beach spit out by the ocean... that's a lot to take in...

(A little more than) 20 minutes on August 27, 2011 at Access 41

Litter by weight: 8 lbs 11 oz
Cigarette butts: 344 (though Tracy said there was probably more like 34,400.)

Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 91 days: