Friday, November 26, 2010

Day 175 - Thanksgiving Day 2010

Matador Beach, Malibu CA
trash collected for 20 min.
4.7 pounds collected
686.9 pounds total
Charlotte heading down to Matador Beach on Thanksgiving Day before our 2 pm meal

It felt right to be on the beach with some of my favorite people on the planet for Thanksgiving Day.
many fishermen were staked out on the beach with yards, upon yards of mono filament

Most of the trash that I found on the beach came from the people that were still near it. A Red Bull can near a fisherman casting into the surf. A plastic water bottle in front of a chair next to another man ready to fish. This made me wonder if it was my place to explain why we wanted to make sure we took our trash with us when we left the beach? I collected their trash, but said nothing which didn't help me let go of the resentment and judgement that was ringing through my head, "Why don't people know better?" And why don't they? And how do we tell them in a way that hits its mark and takes effect? Seriously, I'm asking...

Lisa's toe and a plastic bottle top
I thought this was kelp...

But it wasn't. It was a buried black, plastic tarp or bag that we couldn't entirely unearth. Garen and I dug, and dug as the tide came in, pushing sand right back on top of it.

But maybe this is why I am driving to Sacramento on Sunday for a Monday rally on the steps of the CA State Capitol Building to build momentum for the plastic bag ban. I see so many plastic bags that I have to get in the car. Do you live in Sacramento and want to join us? Leave me a comment and I will tell you the details.

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?