Today is Earth Day. Did you do anything special? I saw a brief blurb on TV that people are being encouraged to do "random acts of green" but didn't see who is doing the encouraging. Personally, I think it comes from within, but that's just me.
Today was a day full of work for me. I didn't get to the newspaper til well after 2pm, and didn't finish my coffee until well past noon... after re-heating said cup at least 8 times. I didn't even get out for a run today, pitiful considering its all clear now after the last day's deluge down here. I had planned to run, but essentially when push came to shove, I had to choose between my run, and doing something for the good of the planet.
I chose the planet.
It is turtle nesting season down here. Lots of fresh new faces showed up for the nesting training, but permits haven't been issued yet, so no beach assignments have been made to all the new surveyors. For now, our beach territory is getting by with the few permitted walkers who still hold permits from last year. No action on nesting here (yet), but it is sure to come. With that in mind, I had to get out and do a beach clean, I just had to.
There is almost no sadder sight to behold than that of wildlife foraging for food in nature among litter, or wildlife entangled, injured or dead from litter. I had to do something to clean parts of beach down here that normally don't get cleaned, I couldn't bear the thought of a turtle hauling out to nest and crawling across garbage. I grabbed a stack of heavy duty contractor's bags from our supply, my camera, sunblock, and a phone and off I went.
It was a grim sight when I reached my destination This is a portion of what I saw:
|A very small portion of the stretch of beach I cleaned today, prior to efforts.|
As usual, when I collect trash, I also constantly search for sea beans. I actually think of the sea beans as a reward for my work. Many times when I feel overwhelmed during beach cleanups, at just that moment I will find a sea heart, nickerbean, or some other bean treasure. I spent 2 hours cleaning, and collected 6 very large contractor's bags full of trash, which I estimate to be at close to 400 pounds in total. This is not including the items that were too large for the bags which were a large wooden box for gun ammo, a large round barrel cover made out of resin which weighed close to 30 pounds, and a hatch door from a boat. I'm very good at estimating weights considering the amount of cat litter buckets I haul up and down my back steps.
This is what the same portion of beach looked like after my work:
|Make it so.|
My mind wandered as I went about this work. I would be elated when I found beans (today's treasures: 1 sea heart, 2 nickerbeans, and 1 sea purse); puzzled when I found some things (I found items today which had the Hebrew language, Spanish language and Greek printing on them); and absolute rage when I found other things (debris from fishing always gets me irate... I found close to 400 feet of line today, plus shotgun casings, light sticks, bait boxes, monofilament line and lures--some with hooks, some without).
Not too long ago, someone said to me something along the lines that there is a lot of trash on beaches, and someone should do something about it; someone should pick up the trash. Being that I AM one of the someones who constantly picks up trash on beaches, roads, parks, parking lots, stores, and well, basically anywhere I find it, the first thing that popped out of my mouth was "have YOU ever stopped and picked up trash on a beach?" The stunned silence that followed was the answer.
I get discouraged when I see things like the excess of trash and debris from people who fish, and don't care about consequences at all. There are people who take things out of season, undersized fish, over the limit, rob from traps, throw garbage from their boats into the ocean, lay more traps than they legally pay for so they can over harvest, and on and on. They don't care about consequences, the attitude is "I got mine." That sense of entitlement is really a pet peeve. Down here where the sea is as much part of the culture as breathing is for some of us, well that that sense of entitlement runs rampant in some people. They are environmental criminals, and they are the lowest of the low, right down at the bottom of the list with those who prey on children, animals and the elderly.
Consequences. There are consequences for our actions, sometimes good, sometimes bad. Not enough people think about the consequences when they throw garbage out a window, a lit cigarette from a car, rob from the environment, or live without a mindful attitude.
Every day is Earth Day in my world. Some days I accomplish more than others, but every day I make mindful choices to help lessen my footprint on the Earth. Sometimes those choices are easier than others, but with every positive choice, I effect change for the good.
Today I cleaned a half mile of prime sea turtle nesting beach. As I walked back towards home, I spoke aloud inviting the turtles onto the beach to safely nest. Soon, the new beach surveyors will have their permits and will be "on the job" as well. We all carry trash bags when we walk, so in short order miles of beach will be cleaner and safer for turtles.
Today is Earth Day. Happy Earth Day to you. As my gift to you, I cleaned a beach. No need to thank me, but it would be nice for you to pay it forward and be somebody.