Monday, November 28, 2011

Our Daily Ocean: Day 106

Ever since we got home from California, the weather here has been down right perfect.  I'm not sure that it can get much better than mid-70's in late November!  Knowing the warm days are numbered, we've been trying to spend as much time at the beach as we can.  Sunday afternoon-- after a couple of hours playing in the sand-- we met our friend Bonnie at Access 43.
 Not long ago, Bonnie went to Access 43 and picked up litter for 20 minutes... her focus is on plastics... but she took the time to count the 390 cigarette butts that she collected.  I've added that amount plus the 118 cigarettes that Bonnie picked up last night to the Community Count (on the sidebar).  Bonnie's addition pushes the Community Count for Wrightsville Beach to over 10,000!!!
Big things are happening with Bonnie.  She was recently selected as a finalist in the international competition "IN SEARCH OF INCREDIBLE."  I was sooooo thrilled when I found out that she was a finalist because 1.) I told Bonnie about the competition and encouraged her to enter.  2.) Others are recognizing how AWESOME.. err... incredible she is.  3.) Her art is something that everyone needs to see.  AND... 4.) An opportunity to create more awareness about plastic pollution in our oceans.
More awareness to this problem of plastic pollution is the opportunity to reach more people.  Believe it or not... there are people who don't know about the Pacific Garbage Patch... there are people who don't know that sea turtles mistake plastic bags as jellyfish... there are people who have no idea that albatross are eating plastic and feeding it to their young... and dying on one of the most remote islands on earth.
Last night, we picked up 179 bottle caps in 20 minutes.  In those bottle caps, I see Midway.  That makes me sad.  So I continue to repeat myself... I don't want to miss anyone.  I make no assumptions... even if I think you know... I just want to make extra sure, because this is important.  One of the most important things we can do is to stop using single-use plastics.  I started with something simple: I stopped buying/accepting/drinking beverages in plastic bottles.  Every time I see the photos of the albatross, I am reminded that my decision makes a difference.

20 minutes on November 27, 2011 at Access 43
Litter by weight: 1 lb 14.8 oz
Cigarette butts: 448
This is the area that we focused on for 20 minutes.  The section that is "turned up" looking is the section that we cleaned.
Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 106 days: 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Our Daily Ocean: Day 105

Since today was "Buy Nothing Day"... I really had the best of intentions of not buying anything... but, I couldn't help myself from buying this amazingness from the comfort of my own home ;)  Then, while many people were spending their day shopping, my family and I took it easy at one of the most relaxing and fun places we know... umm... yeah, that'd be the beach!!  We turned "Black Friday" into "BLUE Friday"... and I think a new tradition may have been born!
Last week, my family and I were in California... we had such an amazing visit!!  One of the highlights of our trip was seeing our friends Sara & Garen in Monterey Bay!  Our timing to visit the aquarium couldn't have been better as Sara had just spoken at the Monterey Bay Aquarium O.N.E Teen Summit and was getting ready to head back to Santa Monica.  It had been over a year since I last saw Sara & Garen...  they're awesome awesome people... wish that unexpected visits could happen more often! :)  After we visited with our friends, we spent several hours at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  NOW... We've been to a lot of aquariums, but this visit is one that we'll remember for a long time to come... ever see an albatross in person? (We did.)  Ever have an animal educator ask you to reduce the plastics you use and refuse single-use plastics like bags and straws?? (You can and more at the Monterey Bay Aquarium) 

My son and I picked up 19 straws in 20 minutes today.  Can you guess how they got on the beach?? (See photo for hint)
Also during our California vacation, we had great evening hanging out with Beth Terry (My Plastic-Free Life), her husband, and Manuel Maqueda (co-founder of Plastic Pollution Coalition).  As a family really striving to reduce the amount of plastic we use... it was great to share dinner, straw-free drinks ;) and conversation with others who are striving to do the same (or more) and connect over our common bonds.  One of the many things we talked about is how one of American Idol's sponsors (cough Coca-Cola) isn't happy about a video with Season 10 American Idol contestants asking us to REFUSE single-use plastics.  So in order to appease their sponsor, the company the produces AI threatened to shut down Plastic Pollution Coalition's YouTube Channel if they didn't remove the video.  The video is still up (woot!)... SO... If you haven't watched the video yet, watch it now... then share.  

Are you afraid to REFUSE disposable plastic?  

(if you are, don't be... I'm here to help)

20 minutes on November 25, 2011 at Access 36
Cigarette butts: 96

Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 105 days: 

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: