Before the public hearing on the proposed smoking-ban on Wrightsville Beach, I prepared myself for the two possible outcomes. I told myself that if the ban didn't pass that it was because I was supposed to do more... that something bigger was supposed to happen. I do this often... when faced with a negative outcome, I look for the positive. It helps me see the bigger picture.
So when the ban was voted down last Thursday, I... of course, teared up.. and then remembered what I had told myself. "Something bigger is going to happen." Maybe I willed it to happen... not sure. But, the very next day, that something bigger started with my friend Sara who writes The Daily Ocean. Sara began counting and tallying the number of cigarette butts she finds during her 20 minute beach clean ups in Santa Monica. Yesterday, we both did 20 minute beach clean ups and I picked up 113 cigarettes off of WB and Sara picked up 17 on her smoke-free Santa Monica beach.
(not so) FUN FACT: Our average at WB is 17 per minute.
Just the other day, my friend Ginger, picked up 232 cigarette butts while cleaning her adopted WB access. As always, I added Ginger's count to the "Community Count" on the sidebar.... bringing the new total to: 10,678
I do realize that when I share the amount of cigarette butts found on Wrightsville Beach, that it must sound absolutely horrible and disgusting. But really it's not. It's so beautiful and one of my favorite places to be. There is, obviously, a problem that can only be solved by raising some MAJOR awareness. Because really, it's just a shame that so many people disrespect Wrightsville Beach (and so many other places) by throwing their cigarette butts (and other trash) with no care as to how they affect other people, animals or the environment.
OK... so more news! Wednesday, I received a completely unexpected text message from Ben Bourgeois of a photo and text that read:
"42 cigs in 20 minutes. Oceanside beach San Diego Ca. 3-14-2012".
Can't even explain how happy that text message made me. Besides seeing another low cigarette butt count from a different smoke-free beach... it is so RAD to inspire someone else!! <--- THAT is what this blog is all about!! YAY!! I'm super stoked about Ben taking the time to do his first 20 minute clean up and I'm even MORE stoked that Ben is going to keep track and see how all of the places he goes compare to WB. Yeah, I'll say it again... big things are happening... I can see it and I can feel it :)
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” ~ Mother Teresa
20 minutes on March 15, 2012 at Access 36
Litter by weight: 10.3 oz
Cigarette butts: 113
Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 125 days: