On Earth Day we had ourselves a little coastal cleanup. There's nothing like cleaning up other people's litter to make you depressed about humanity. Just along our local coastline we collected this heap of junk:
|(the pile is higher than it seems in the photo)|
I know that most people weren't lucky enough to be raised on Don't Waste Utah ads (that guy came to my elementary school. Rock star status). But littering really gets my knickers in a twist.
Early one morning last winter, just as dawn was breaking, Marc was standing out on the rock and saw, up the coast, a hunched old man in a tattered sweater slowly working his way down toward the water. He had a bulging garbage bag in his hand.
"He's not gonna..." Marc thought.
I mean, no way, right? This is an elderly gentleman who lives on this coast in the winter, which means he's gotta have a serious love of harsh mother nature.
The guy hobbled on down to the rocks above the water, and then just stared out onto the icy sea.
"Yeah, he's just soakin' it all in, like I am," Marc thought.
And then the dude hurled his bag of trash right out onto the water, and watched it slowly float away.
What the hell?
Kids get it. Grown-ups don't. Is this how it's always going to be?
We've belonged to the Ocean Conservancy for a long time. They do good things. But also, kids around the world do good things for the ocean and then send their findings to the Ocean Conservancy.
Nothing beats a good bar graph, except a good bar graph in kids' handwriting.
Based on what we've seen, our stats around here pretty much match what these kids saw. Plastic everywhere. It's amazing, the plastic garbage we produce. We go big. We don't just litter our coastlines with the stuff. We create land-masses.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a floating glob of plastic garbage twice
In some places the floating garbage is 90 feet deep. And in other places, garbage outweighs plankton by 6 to 1. That is a monster island of our own disgusting waste.
In 2006, a UN survey concluded that every square mile of ocean has 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it. No wonder we get a new batch of trash here with every high tide. It's bleak. It's bad. It's sad.
Even though what I do won't make even tiniest difference, I'm gonna keep picking it up. And mark my words: when I'm a billionaire, I'm taking a thousand cargo ships out there, and I'm cleaning up that crap! Then maybe the Don't Waste Utah guy would take me for a ride in his awesome car.