I collect trash from all over the world. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t keep it. But every morning when I walk my dog down the beach, I grab a couple of plastic grocery bags on my way out the door, and off we go, ambling along the sandy highway, collecting bits and pieces of global garbage. It’s easily as fun as collecting sea shells, if not more so. It’s the same game of “Look at this one!” Except this time it’s an old wetsuit, mop, firework, shotgun casing, lighter, soda can…
One Sunday my boyfriend and I picked a stretch of beach and just cleaned the whole thing up. We made 7 big piles along the beach, each with at least 70 pounds of trash. You might think why bother; it will just come back next tide, next week, next month. True. But it mattered to one neighbor whose three children were playing on the beach. I don’t speak much Spanish, but I could tell he was wildly thankful of our efforts, putting hands in prayer position, then shoving his arms up to the heavens with a double thumbs up as we hauled away 70 pounds of ropes and netting and other nefarious gifts from the tide.
Yes, the garbage will come back, but so will we. And we are not alone. Coincidentally, the day that we dragged our 500 pounds of trash from the beaches of Punta Banda, thousands of people in San Diego got together and did the same thing. I hope you’ll join us on one of the big haul days, or enjoy the hunt for trash on your own.
Maybe it can’t compete with picking up shells. As much as I enjoy picking up a good shell – that’s a game of look what I took for me — collecting debris is a game of look what I left for everyone.
“To leave the world a better place…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”–Ralph Waldo Emerson