Monday, September 30, 2013

Our Daily Ocean: Day 204

As I'm moving forward with my goal to complete my 365th beach clean up on August 9, 2014... I'm finding myself settling back into my beach cleanup groove.  AND, I'm really enjoying it.  I realize that earlier in the year I truly needed a break... but now... it feels so good to be back.

Sometimes what we see on the surface is only a small fraction of the issue.  Case in point, this seemingly small piece of plastic I picked up at Wrightsville Beach on Monday.  As I pulled, I realized that the majority of the plastic was underneath the sand.... and it turned out to be a bag that once held ice.
Did you know that there is a way around plastic bags of ice?  I mean besides making your own... which if you need to fill a large cooler may take a long time.  There's a company called "Ice House America" that has bulk ice machines.  Take your cooler and fill with ice... no plastic bag to throw away!  Want to see if there's a bulk ice machine near you?  Check out their website here.
20 minutes on September 30, 2013 at Access 29
Litter by weight: 5.4 oz
Cigarette butts: 46
Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 204 days:

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Our Daily Ocean: Day 203

I have no doubts of the powers of the ocean.  Whether I'm in the water or on the shore... just being near the ocean has such a positive effect on me.  It always just feels good...  

"The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul." ~Wyland

I'm grateful that 14 years ago, we made the decision to move from landlocked St. Louis and find our way to this beautiful coastal town.  There's no place I'd rather be... 

Find a place you love.  Cherish it.  Protect it. 

20 minutes on September 29, 2013 at Access 40
Litter by weight: 1.3 oz
Cigarette butts: 26
Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 203 days:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Our Daily Ocean: Day 202

Back in 2010, months before I started this beach cleanup project, I  became aware of a local nonprofit called Ocean Cure that did free charity surf camps for at risk youth and those who are medically fragile.  Impressed by the idea, I (along with my husband) quickly signed up to volunteer.  We didn't know the founders... we didn't know anyone else volunteering.  But it was something that we felt so inspired by that we knew we wanted to support Ocean Cure in any way that we could.
A few months after our first volunteering experience with Ocean Cure, we became fast friends with the founder-- Kevin.  We quickly learned that Kevin is the type of person who gives without expectation... and he gives so much of his time and energy to helping those who normally couldn't get in the water the opportunity to do so.  AND... his nonprofit Ocean Cure does it for free.

Ocean Cure measures their success by the smiles they create.  And let me tell you... they are definitely succeeding!   
But, they don't just do free surf camps for those in need!  They also participate in and organize beach and waterway cleanups!  I love that Ocean Cure understands and acts on the knowledge that in order to enjoy our beaches and oceans, we need to keep them clean, protect them and nourish them!  Because Ocean Cure encompasses philanthropy and environmentalism... they are definitely my favorite local nonprofit!  If you'd like to volunteer, participate, donate or just learn more about Ocean Cure... please take the time to check out their website and go "like" them on Facebook.

20 minutes on September 24, 2013 at Access 39
Litter by weight: 2.3 oz
Cigarette butts: 49

Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 202 days: 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Our Daily Ocean: Day 201

On Monday afternoon, while my daughter was at dance, I set out to Wrightsville Beach to make good on my personal goal of doing a beach cleanup as often as I could.  Wanting to do my 365th beach cleanup on August 9, 2014 is going to take focus, planning and commitment. 
Something I rarely mention is that the commitment is about more than just doing a beach cleanup.  Anyone who has taken the time to document beach cleanups, knows what I'm talking about.  The commitment for me involves a 20 minute drive to the beach, 20 minute cleanup, 20 minute drive home and the time to weigh, sort, and document.
  This is not a once a year beach cleanup. This is a portrait of a beach.... through the days, weeks and months of the year.  These small beach cleanups are how a lightbulb effectively got switched on for me.    My friend Harry (aka The Flotsam Diaries) just wrote a fantastic piece for the Portland Press Herald blog titled, "The International Coast Cleanup-- Bigger Isn't Better".  He writes:
"...have everyone get down in the sand, picking every last piece of garbage they can, til nobody can pick up one more scrap. Get in there with them. Make the beach spotless. Make it shine. Take a picture to remember how it looks spotless. Smile.
Then, gather your group at the same beach not in a year, but in a week.
There is nothing more jarring to the system than seeing a place you broke your back caring for, trashed again while the soreness of your effort is still in your limbs.
There’s nothing better to drive the point home that it’s time for a change."
Coastal Cleanup Day was on Saturday and I did this cleanup on Monday.  This is reality. 

It's time for change.
20 minutes on September 23, 2013 at Access 36
Litter by weight: 7.3 oz
Cigarette butts: 137
Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 201 days:

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Our Daily Ocean: Day 200

This is a true story.  I almost bailed on International Coastal Cleanup Day.  It's not an inspiring truth, but it's the truth nonetheless.  As volunteers were cleaning Wrightsville Beach this morning, I was contemplating my going to the beach.  It was raining and there was a triathlon going on.  And I wasn't feeling like braving either, so I gave myself a pass.  Then synchronicity happened.  I ended up talking to a friend and through our conversation I remembered why I should go to the beach.  Some friends are just so amazing that they help us see things clearly without even trying ;) 
So my 3 kids and I went to do our 200th 20 minute beach cleanup at Wrightsville Beach on Coastal Cleanup Day, on the last day of summer.  Admittedly, I'm a little sad to see summer go... but I'm feeling like the change of seasons is the perfect time to seize the opportunity for change.  Transition into creating a goal for myself.
Last year, I made the decision to continue this beach clean up project all the way to 365 non-consecutive beach cleanups.  With this being my 200th... I have 165 more to go!  I've been thinking about when I'd like to have the project completed... and as my friend and I were talking about this today and doing some math... look out now! ... I've decided to put it out there that I am going to refocus my energy and am setting a goal to complete my 365th beach cleanup on August 9, 2014.
I realize this goal means that I'm going to have to hit the beach more regularly (like 3-4 times a week) and honestly I don't even know how possible that will always be.  But.... one thing that I do know is that I will never know if I don't try.  FILDI
20 minutes at Access 16 on September 21, 2013
Litter by weight: 6 oz
Cigarette butts: 57
Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 200 days: