Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 100 - Feb. 23, 2010

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
2.2. pounds
405.4 pounds total

I'm not even a third of the way through my 365 non-consecutive day beach cleanup mission, but I have to say it felt pretty good to be out there for the 100th time last night. 100 is a nice round number.

The beach didn't look so bad until I got halfway down the high tide line between tower 26 and 28 where I collect. Time was up soon after I arrived at the worst of it. Walking away from that mess made me frustrated, but only allowing 20 minutes works for me in part because I DO want to come back today to get more trash from the beach. It functions as an incentive. I know that what I saw last night will have washed back into the waves today, but unfortunately there is always more.

Wouldn't it be nice to come away empty handed?
I found a great website recently - LESS PLASTIC MORE LIFE. There is a website and a blog. Check it out! They remind us of a a powerful reality:

"Everyday animals mistake plastic bags as food, ingest them and die. Once the animals decay, the bags are set free and the killing continues." - This fact is perhaps the number one reason I do what I do.
OK - this is me on the beach in New Jersey in the early 1980's. Do you notice anything unusual about this picture?

After finding it the other day, I realized that there is not one piece of trash on the beach around me, behind, anywhere that I can see. I know that the oceans were well on their way to accumulating the trash and contaminants that we find there today when this photograph was taken, but I remember that it was RARE to find anything but sand, shells, and sea weed on the beaches of my childhood. Lets get back there.
Styrofoam, styrofoam everywhere. Santa Monica makes me proud that it has banned Non-recyclable Plastics as you can see below. It is a city wide effort that has a phone number to call, and a website to log onto where you can report restaurants that still use take out containers that violate this ban.
Inspired by their efforts, I unfortunately see the results of living in a city that is at the end of shared storm drains. LA and the surrounding cities do not carry this ban, so the result is a lot of styrofoam still washing up on the beaches.

The answer? Taking the positive steps in your community to other cities, states, and countries to affect further change. Perhaps not easy, but I don't really see other options. Do you?
In any case, hurray Santa Monica, now lets get single use plastic bags banned. Join Team Marine of Santa Monica High School and sign their online petition to do just that today! Thank you. We are at 172 people, our goal - 1,000 - WE NEED YOU T JOIN US!
Since Monday night when Team Marine invited me to attend the AVATAR fundraiser at FOX held by the NRDC and I heard James Cameron talk afterwards, I have been thinking about something he said, "What am I here to do with my little packet of energy?"

J.C. said that it took him a long time to figure out what that was for him. I relate to that. Writing my book, "Calliope and the Heart of the Sea," and committing to this blog feels like the beginning of what I am meant to do. It goes back to the core of what I loved as a child. Being a total water baby, it was difficult to ever get me out of the surf.

The picture above is of Hawaiian Spinner dolphins. I have had the privilege as an adult to swim with them in their waters many times off the coast of the Big Island. One morning after a long swim of an hour or more, I remember coming up for air and thinking , I have to figure out a way to repay them. Being an artist I have tried to do that with my creativity. Truthfully, I can never repay the debt I owe to them for opening my heart and reconfirming my connection and love for our planet, particularly the ocean with all its inhabitants.
Last night's sunset sent golden yellow light rays across the ocean in a perfect path to the shore.

Most days I don't feel like what I do is enough. But also like James Cameron said, "it is not an opportunity, but a responsibility." I think every individual could apply that to what they feel like is their purpose, their passion. All I can do is try the best I can in the day that I'm in.