This one was organized and promoted by the Town of Lantana with the help of staff member Nadine Shawah a little over two weeks ago, on February 23, 2019.
I wanted to participate not only because it’s always a good thing to get rid of litter, but also because I wanted to get a better idea of what to expect.
A couple of Love & Peace Society members had expressed an interest in a clean-up activity for the group. It first was mentioned during our morning walks, and it seemed that the entire group was eager to create an effort to help at least those areas where we routinely walk.
Beaches are recreational areas and as such hugely useful for humans. But they are also reflective of the conditions of our oceans.
An indicator of human activity
The more litter you see on a beach, the more trash is likely to be found in the water as well. While all that stuff is really ugly to look at laying around on land, it becomes life threatening for the Ocean’s creatures. It’s their living environment, and it would be to us land denizens as if the trash was floating all around us in the air. We couldn’t even breathe!
I was surprised, though. Overall, the Lantana public beach was in good shape. That’s because our town sends out workers regularly to pick up whatever flotsam gets washed ashore, or whatever those few careless beach goers left behind from the previous day.
Let me say few, because the good people who were there to enjoy the beach that day, came up to us volunteers and thanked us, pledging not to litter.
There are things we do not pick up, like the one above. It’s NOT a plastic bag, and it doesn’t matter if it looks like one.
It’s a Portuguese Man-O-War, a nasty stinging creature that will leave you in pain for the rest of the day. Leave it alone – they’re not to be touched!
But there are things we found that day which were removed.
Let me show you the menu
- Plastic straws. The number ONE culprit and by numbers the most common single item. Makes me embrace the coming laws even more: paper is better than plastic!
- Cigarette butts. I used to smoke and loved it at the time. If you still do and don’t mind putting toxins into your body, go ahead and enjoy it. But dispose of your butts properly!
- Styrofoam pieces. Not a big deal if they’re large pieces that can easily be recognized and removed. Problem with these was that they were very small. That makes them dangerous.
- Plastic fragments. Same as #3. Plastic is good for humans in many ways. Let’s just make sure it doesn’t wind up where it doesn’t belong.
- Mylar balloon fragments. Same as #3. Thing is, I get it. They’re pretty and they usually say “I love you” in all their shiny glory. Use your common sense when disposing of them, so the wind can’t pick them up and carry them away…
One for everybody’s special bucket list:
If you’ve never done it – I highly recommend it! No, really. It is a rewarding feeling.
For a very low cost (it didn’t take that much effort and only a few drops of sweat), you can make things better for all. How cool is that?
I mean, what else IS there in life? How many movies can you watch, how many video games can you win (I know firsthand how much fun that is), how many parties can you go to, just so **POOF** they all go away after that moment of bliss.
Do something meaningful that lasts… Help create a better community, a better society, a better planet, and inspire others while you do it!
Love is never far away…
There is such a thing as finding love in all the right places. Among all the debris, the countless little plastic pieces, the endless stretches of brown algae, the many foot prints of the day, lay this ray of hope. A weathered, mostly sand-covered piece of plastic, looking innocent enough as perhaps a girl’s hair clip in its past life. Spelling the word L-O-V-E.
It is much more, though.
An artifact for the future Love, Peace & Beads Museum, it will serve as a reminder of human nature. As a symbol of fragility, disposable nature and at the same time the goodwill we all have inside of us.
Coincidence? It can be explained only by that very moment when I accidentally found it. It was meant to be.
Figured it out yet?
The quality of a nature-inclusive life is why I went and did it. I gained a new perspective and experienced something valuable for myself. So should you – it will enrich you. Lantana is having these four times a year, and if I’m in town and available, I will participate again, happily.
You can always contact your local town hall anywhere to find out whether your town or group is organizing a beach clean-up.
Better yet: make it totally rewarding and take Micah’s Challenge!