I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day 2011

Hello everyone! Hope the sun is shining for you wherever you are for this holiday weekend!

Warning: nature girl rant today!
Did you know there is a garbage dump the size of TWO Texas-es...slowly swirling in the Pacific Ocean?!

Pcific Ocean trash from Google pix

It's the biggest garbage dump/"landfill" in the world. Think about it---twice the size of Texas! And other gyres or circular currents in all other oceans have similar, if smaller swirls of trash---mostly plastic---too! Just google the phrase great Pacific Garbage Dump and you'll see myriad stories, research, from National Geographic to Wikipedia. This is NOT  an urban (maritime?) legend, even though the very concept boggles my mind.

Googled photo: Yes! That IS a PERSON
walking on the trash "island"!
click to enlarge
 My own beach is relatively pristine, somewhat surprising when we think how close to all the big east coast cities my little sand bar lies.

Over the past year or so I've been photographing these enormous bundles of rope and netting that wash ashore even here....

Sometimes they do good things, helping to hold the sand in place during storms...

And sometimes, they almost seem like beach treasure, when they are made of decorative ( to me) nets and floats....

There's even a woman who studies these net messes, for her art. Here's  last year's post, mentioning her site....

On a grassroots level, activist groups like the  Surfrider Foundation try to bring awareness to the public: their message, Respect the Beach rings true to me, as the beach---any beach, but especially my own, is my spiritual and artistic home.

This is a link to a fascinating slideshow from Surfrider showing the awful wash-ashore on what should have been a pristine Hawaiian beach, now named Plastic Beach. The sand itself is made from tiny flakes of non-biodegradable plastic.

Yet, again, to me---the eternal beachcomber, some of the trash there (and yes, here at home) seems like treasure...

late 1800s patent medicine bottle fragment from my beach

Seaglass is, after all, simply trash. Old and interesting---romanticized and treasured, but trash it is!

seaglass bottle, c.1890, Irish ale, from my beach

I'd be thrilled beyond words to find a glass float at the beach instead of at the flea market! Did you see the one in the slide show of Plastic Beach? sigh....


Or even turquoise netting...or one of  the small rubber ducks whose ocean journey is chronicled in Moby Duck , by Donovan Hohn.  The sales blurb says: "Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them. " 

It seems a crate of toys from China fell off a ship years ago; the escaped toys, icluding thousands of Rubber Duckies, have roamed the oceans of the world ever since! How, uh, fun? And why have I never found one??? Huh?
(I just downloaded it onto my Kindle...I'll review it when I am done reading.)

Here is the ultimate wash-ashore find! (Though I'd rather find a glass float! Or a tarnished pirate's doubloon...)....

 When this small sailboat drifted ashore and washed up on the dunes in a late winter storm, all I could think was that my dad---an inveterate reuser/ recycler---could have, would have, salvaged that little boat and fixed it for summertime sailing fun.

I love my beach...and hope it is not too late to save our Earth, that we can change and preserve it for our future generations....

Note: Surfrider Foundation is the world's leading non-profit environmental organization working to protect and preserve our world's oceans, waves and beaches. Please take the time to look at their site, read their mission statement. Thank you!



gone to the beach

note: all photos taken by me, here at my beach,  except the two Pacific Trash pix and Moby Duck's cover. My thx for their use...