For the past week, weather here has been bouncing back and forth between warm and cold. On November 13, a record was set for the first November snowfall in recorded history. Then just 5 days later on November 18, our area reached 84˚F breaking the previous record high. But like the weather lately, it was a short lived phenomenon and when I went to the beach on Tuesday morning... it was cold with a whipping wind.
Even though it was cold, I was immediately impressed by the sideways waves and loved watching them smash into the pier pylons. It's fun seeing the variances in the ocean... one day it can be completely calm and the next it can be rough and kind of violent. I would have loved to sit on the beach and watch the waves and wind interact. But there was something that I needed to do.... and it started with me walking the tideline...
The tideline was littered with cigarette butts, plastic wrappers, straws, and other various smaller plastics. No doubt things that were left behind from beachgoers of the previous warmer days.
I often wonder how we can reach those who haven't yet learned ... or those who just haven't (or can't) made the connection that their actions make a difference. How can we inspire and motivate others to do something beyond sharing a post or thought on social media? How do we really inspire real motivated and committed change? If you're up for it... I'd love to hear your thoughts.
20 minutes on November 19, 2013 at Access 16
Litter by weight: 8.9oz Cigarette butts: 98
Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 218 days:
With every season, there is something special about the beach. Of course, summer (my favorite time) means swimming and soaking up the sun. But when the cool weather comes... I can't help but appreciate a less crowded beach which ultimately means a cleaner beach.
This is what the beach looked like on November 12, 2013... and yes, I had it all to myself.
Having the beach all to myself on such a beautiful day... was amazing. The feeling is so special that there's really nothing like it in the world. The sand stretching as far as I can see and the blue that never ends.... there's healing powers there.
Have you ever wondered why we're drawn to the ocean? Or why being near water sets our minds at ease? Dr. Wallace J. Nichols revolutionizes what we think about those questions and reveals the remarkable truth about the benefits of being, in, on, under, or simply near water in his upcoming book Blue Mind (June 2014). To learn more about Wallace "J" Nichols and Blue Mind, please visit:
A year ago, Tuesday, I did my 168th beach clean up picking up 225 cigarette butts in 20 minutes. At the time, I was putting all my efforts into bringing awareness to how beach smoking bans helped reduce cigarette litter and encouraging WB residents to get out and vote. And then on November 6, 2012 the residents of Wrightsville Beach voted to make WB the first smoke-free beach in North Carolina making my 168th beach clean up my last pre-smoking ban clean up!!
Yes, it's been a year already!
With the passing of the smoke-free beach ordinance, I found immense gratitude in being part of something so significant to my area. A year after the fact, I still feel the pride wash over me when I step onto the beach. And even more so when I calculate the difference pre and post smoke-free ordinance.
Comparing March 2012- March 2013 where I picked up an average of 222 cigarette butts per clean up to April 2013- present where I now pick up an average of 60 butts per cleanup....
there is a 73% decrease in cigarette litter at Wrightsville Beach!! YAY for a smoke-free beach!!!
Now as I work to complete 365 non-consecutive beach cleanups, without the push of fixing the cigarette litter problem.... I sometimes find myself looking for inspiration, motivation and purpose to get out to the beach. This past Tuesday, I received a simple reminder from my friend Rachel and her 3 amazing kids.
There's nothing... I tell you nothing... more inspiring than seeing young kids get excited about helping make a difference. I loved watching Rachel's kids enthusiasm, having conversations with them and hearing their observations about what they were picking up on the beach. Thank you Rachel, for suggesting that we do a beach cleanup together!! Let's do it again, soon!
20 minutes on November 5, 2013 at Access 25
Litter by weight: 1.4 oz Cigarette butts: 68
Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 214 days: