Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Day 331 - Sept. 17, 2012

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
3 pounds 
1,254.8 pounds total

I've said this recently, but it's important to repeat. One of the ways I think that beach cleanups make an impact is the experiential learning taking place as you do it. There's a kinesthetic connection between picking up empty plastic water bottles off the sand and reaching for one the next time you are in the store. It had this effect on me. I am sure I still drank plenty of bottled water when I started this project. I am sure I stopped because I saw too many empty containers, learned more about the quality of water in them, and some of the myths surrounding plastic recycling.

How do I take that message to more people? Just last Monday someone told me that because of all the plastic water bottle photos on The Daily Ocean she thought twice when reaching to purchase some and didn't. That's music to my ears. Delivering a message in a way people can hear it. 

Would telling people to stop buying bottled water work? Making them feel bad? No. I call this "Green Shame" when someone feels guilty for a way they perceive to be environmentally unfriendly. I love the ocean. I have loved the beach my whole life. I didn't switch from drinking bottled water until I found too many empties on the beach. Is it possible that there are other ocean lovers out there that given a message they can hear would switch in their own time, and do so from inspiration rather than from being told to? I think so. 

Heal the Bay's Coastal Cleanup Day last Sat. spanned 56 miles of coastline and extracted 38,598 pounds of trash from California. If you enjoyed coming out on Sat. join Heal the Bay every third Sat. for their monthly cleanups. 

Heal the Bay says that cigarette butts, plastic bottles and caps, snack-food packaging, plastic bags and Styrofoam fragments were some of the most common items found. I covered almost every item on their list just in this one post. I'd agree that these items are pervasive in all my cleanups. 

If you bought less of any of these convenience items you'd save money, and get healthier. 
What's healthy for your body and wallet is healthy for the ocean.