Friday, November 26, 2010

Community Count Day 72 - November 23, 2010

Herbert and Charlotte after learning that we collected 38.2 pounds of trash in 20 min.

Community Collection Day 72 - Palos Verdes, CA
trash collected for 20 min.
by Lisa, Herbert, Charlotte, Garen and Sara
38.2 pounds
611.2 pounds total

thank you to our friends who collected trash with us, and especially to Herbert who took all of these photographs with his new itouch!
Garen walking down to one of his favorite tide pooling beaches in CA

This is my first post in a few days. I felt like I was on vacation since Monday afternoon when one of my oldest friends, Lisa arrived with her two kids who are pictured above. I didn't even turn on my computer until after noon today which made me remember why I love this time of year so much. Even with holiday madness, and family drama, we slow down a bit.

One of Garen's favorite beaches is out on the Palos Verde Peninsula and so we took our three guests there for an octopus hunt, and to admire other "beasties" as Garen would say.

The view from the cliff is stunning. Unspoiled coast awaits you, or does it?
A purple sea urchin

Garen, Lisa and Herbert all tasted fresh Uni (Japanese for sea urchin) after Garen dissected it on the spot for Herbert. He's a marine biologist, not just some random beach goer who likes to open up urchin shells. And Herbert is intensely curious about the workings of all things marine. They dissected a squid together about two years ago when they spent their first Thanksgiving out on Avery Island. Herbert was so impressed he made Garen a shirt that says:

view of a seemingly pristine beach

But as the time for the beach cleanup got closer, I was getting anxious. I knew what awaited us up toward the high tide line in the rocks, and it was going to be a bummer.
the tide pools below the rocks at low tide

We made our way up there as the clock struck 4 pm. At first it looks like there's lots of trash to collect, but on further inspection...
where all the plastics gather

there's just tons and tons of it. You stay hunched over for the entire 20 min. just picking bits of plastic-this-and-that as fast as you can. If you move a couple of rocks, there's always more.

our friends who were visiting couldn't believe that everything was made of plastic

If I was even more fanatical than I already am about beach trash, I would save all of the trash that I collect, and separate it out into brands. SO for example all of the 7/11 products I find would be put into a nice big pile, and shipped off to 7/11 with a note. Hmmm...

My fanatical idea leads me to something that I have been thinking about lately. Why does the burden fall on the consumer to educate themselves about the environmental impacts of products and foods and the many varied negative effects that these goods also have on human health? Why aren't these issues factored into the beginning of the product's life? Why can't I even trust the label organic? And for example, why when I look at this Right Guard tube of antiperspirant do I have to know that the packaging will be around for oh - a thousand years or so - and that it most likely contained a form of aluminum that was detrimental to the health of the user? I just want to buy deodorant that doesn't hurt myself, or the planet don't you?


  1. Better yet, forgo deodorant.. They say the reason we have body odor is due to the foods we eat.. Even if we eat unprocessed foods we are bound to smell a little.. That's why there are showers..I haven't bought deodorant in years...and haven't offended anyone...BTW have u read the ingredients on a deodorant container? that alone might change your mind.. :-)

  2. Seems like we're having the same sort of "fanatical" ideas.. having these companies take responsibility for the waste their products create should be a realistic goal... because if THEY had to take responsibility for it all... then maybe they would change their products OR at the very least educate the people that they are selling their products to...

    I had a thought/day dream the other day of calling up Phillip Morris to arrange a pick up of all the Marlboro's that I have...

    dream big, right!? :)