Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Our Daily Ocean: Day 104

There was a scent in the air as we walked onto the beach yesterday afternoon.  My son Henri said, "It smells weird."  I started to wonder if we had been away from the beach too long... BUT... as we approached the shoreline we figured out exactly where the smell was coming from...
Thousands of dead jellies lay strewn about the shoreline.  My kids were completely mesmerized.  How did they get here?? Why did they die??  ....and then they felt compelled to start burying them in the sand.  While my kids were busy examining and burying jellyfish... I swept the beach for 20 minutes at Johnnie Mercer's Pier.

I forgot how enjoyable it is to go to the beach in the cooler months.  During the summer months, I often find it hard to just sit back and do nothing.  In the summer, a walk to the shoreline ends with me making several trips to the trashcan.  BUT... now... it's different.  There are few people on the beach and fewer people means a lot less litter than during the hot summer months.  I can relax.  I can take time to not think about anything but the waves, the sand, the birds.... my kids :)

My kids are pretty awesome.  I would gladly admit that they are the driving force behind nearly everything I do.  It's true... I want to help make this world a better place for them.  ....And through doing that they learn how to live connected and in "harmony" with the world.  Through this litter project, my kids have learned about how personal responsibility (or irresponsibility) impacts our world.

I had to explain to my kids yesterday, that as much as we pick up cigarette butts...  because somewhere around 4.5 trillion are littered every year... we will never be able to get them all.  To explain to them how large of a number that is... I shared with them (a scaled down version) of an interesting calculation from my friend Harry of The Flotsam Diaries:

A cigarette butt is about 1" long. The distance from the earth to the moon is 238,000 miles -- 15.1 billion inches. 5.5 trillion cigarettes are made each year. If even 90% were disposed of properly, enough cigarette butts are littered to reach the moon once every 10 days.

Think about it.

20 minutes on November 8, 2011 at Access 16
Litter by weight: 6.8 oz
Cigarette butts: 182

Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 104 days: