Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 170 - Nov. 9, 2010

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
2 pounds
675.6 pounds
It was a hard night to be out there. I took a few pictures of bigger pieces of trash when the light was just fading, but then my efforts quickly turned to the thousands of fragmented bits of styrofoam littering the high tide line. I spent 20 minutes picking up those bits, which is frustrating on many levels. The one that is sticking out in my mind as I write is that I couldn't possibly get it all. Maybe that is an appropriate metaphor for the frustrating nature of getting all the trash - mostly made from plastic - out of the world's oceans....
One great thing that happened was that a woman came up to me and asked, "Are you picking up plastic?" She'd watched the TEDx conference Great Pacific Garbage Patch that happened here in Santa Monica on Sat. hosted by the Plastic Pollution Coalition. Turns out we have a lot in common and she is up to great things, one of which is writing for the Huff Post on environmental issues. Here name is Deborah Bassett. We're going to hopefully go for coffee to break it all down. Thank you BIG time to the PPC for hosting such a world changing event!
They raise money to make loans to help organizations share their stories, then work to repay the loan which in turn goes on to foster other epic changes in still more communities!
One great message I just got on twitter was from a woman in Maui who spent 20 min. with 20 people to collect cigarette butt liter off the beach. They got 670 butts! Danielle of It Starts with Me blog came here over the summer and took back the idea of doing 20 min. cigarette butt collections to her Wrightsville Beach community in N.C.. Well thanks to social media more folks have heard of her efforts, and she is so gracious to always point back to The Daily Ocean but really the only, and coolest thing that matters is that people are getting totally inspired to clean up their beaches, learn about the issues surrounding all of that trash and they are sparking change! Couldn't really ask for more than that....

Here is PART TWO of Stuart Moody of Green Sangha's successful cigarette butt story:

A week after my experience in Marin (where someone was thankful for the info. about cig. butt liter he gave them), I was sitting outside the BART station in San Leandro, waiting for AC Transit. Next to me was a young man with nearly-shaved head, a tank top showing several tattoos, and arms nearly as broad as my legs. He threw a smoking cigarette to the ground. Heartened by my earlier experience, I began to tell him the same thing I had said in Novato. He wouldn't let me finish. "You mean I should throw it in the trash?" "Yes," I said, "after putting it out." He picked it up and tossed in the garbage can. I thanked him, and reflected silently: people generally do not want to do harm; if we can tell them nicely how to live more kindly on the earth, they just might be grateful for our advice.
A Tibetan Monk pouring sand from the mandala into the Santa Monica Bay

My friend Debbie works with Tibetan monks in Tehachapi CA. Last week they held a residency at the UCLA Hammer Museum where a team of trained monks drew a sand mandala that took them an entire week to complete. Then they had a ceremony - dedicating all of the focused power of concentrated loving compassion that went into the making of the mandala - swept the entire thing up - walked to the water from WESTWOOD and poured all the sand in as a prayer to the world.

Wherever that sand goes (mined from near their monastery in Nepal) their wish is that is spreads loving compassion to all the places, and beings it touches. Doesn't it make you feel better about the world that people like this, and events like these are going on amidst it all?