Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 99 - Feb. 18

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA

trash collected for 20 minutes

4.3 pounds

403.2 pounds total

I love the beach - surprise! Waiting for a fellow Santa Monican that I met thru Twitter to join me, I tried to sit quietly by the water, just to soak in the views. I couldn't. Why? Riding in on the waves where a bunch of balloons from Valentines Day. Try as I might to ignore them, I reassured myself that in ten minutes I would be picking them up. "Just chill out," I told myself.

Not being able to enter a state of relaxation I scurried to the water's edge to collect the many "I Love You" balloons floating to shore. This experience may reveal my neurotic nature. It tells you why I started the Daily Ocean that's for sure. But it also leaves me with a question. Why can people walk by so much trash on the beach and relax?

Surfrider answers the question that I posed above in their video, "Shifting Baselines."

This is NOT the first can in insecticide that I have found on the beach. Although the last one I took off of the sand was in Tulum, Mexico after a hurricane a few years ago. The bottle was in Chinese with a picture of a beautiful (I'm assuming) Chinese woman with the only lettering in English reading, "insecticide."
What does 4.3 pounds look like? It looks like that. Although a beach cleanup held by "Save Our Shores," in Santa Cruz reports:

"On Saturday February 13th, over 30 volunteers came to support Save Our Shores' river cleanup efforts. SOS hosted a cleanup on Branciforte Creek where volunteers collected over 1,000 pounds of trash and over 400 pounds of recycling! Volunteers removed everything from couches, chairs, a bed frame, vacuums, tarps, shopping carts, electrical wires, batteries, car parts, cans, bottles, and lots of plastic items. Thank you to those who showed their support for our local watershed and made this creek cleanup such a huge success!"

I won't argue the success of taking out that much garbage, but doesn't it strike you as alarming that there was that much there to collect? What can we do to stop the "Shifting Baseline" of beach/river cleanups?

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