|Save 10 Movement|
|Written by Shawn Tracht|
|Wednesday, 29 February 2012 23:43|
Save 10 Movement
Story and Photos by Shawn Tracht
Cool waves hitting the inside sandbar, friends on the beach walking to and fro after a good session, and a group of pretty girls sunbathing in teeny bikinis and surrounded by old wet trash. Smiling, waving, and calling the boys over, something is detracting from their beauty on this warm California day.
It’s the plastic water bottles, Styrofoam yogurt dishes, cheeseburger wrappers, baby wipes, cigarette butts, and the uber-inventive milk-shake spoon straws that are half-buried in the sand all around them and lining the beach as far as the eye can see.
Like what you see?
As the day goes on, surfer boys come and go, and though disgusted by this nuisance of trash, not one of them bends down to pick it up. “Yo, bro, that’s gross! I didn’t litter and put that trash there, and I shouldn’t have to pick it up,” many of them say. “Eeww! Gross,” the girls shout in their best valley-girl vernacular tone, “I’m not touching that trash.” Yet they continue to lie within it.
So what happens to all that trash that we decide not to pick up on a daily basis?
Author and biogeographer David M. Lawrence voyaged out to the North Pacific Gyre and found that most of the plastic that he picked up was tiny, widely dispersed and invisible to the naked eye. Lawrence wrote, “the truth might actually be worse and far more insidious. Compared to a big mound of trash, for one thing, it’s impossible to clean up tons of tiny and widespread specks of plastic. You can’t just scoop them up.”
Ultimately, the scariest threat of this plastic pollution is its health risk to the entire food chain, us humans being at the top. Fish and birds easily mistake these specks of plastic for plankton. Just type in “plastic pollution” or “the Great Pacific Garbage Patch” into Google, and you’ll find appalling pictures of birds and fish found dead and filled with plastic that they had mistaken for plankton and other food.
So what do we do?
However, daily, that didn’t do any good.
I am also guilty of missing my fair share of beach cleanups during the year. I always had something else going on. Excuses: We were going out of town. I had to be somewhere else. I only had so much time to surf, so I couldn’t make it to the clean up that day.
After years of non-action in defense of the ocean that I love, I knew that I needed to grow up. I needed to challenge myself to something that was attainable. I also needed to make a difference to help the ocean myself before I had a right to expect others to do it.
Thus was born “Save 10.” With the idea that goals set at attainable levels are those we follow through with, I began a mission to just “Save 10” pieces of trash from going in the water each time I was at the beach.
That may seem idealistic, but when movements are born and believed in, they become social very quickly—they go viral. An easy way to change the trash climate on the beach is to make it cool to clean up by saving 10 rather than doing nothing at all. We don’t have to yell at each other, fight, or get upset. Just leading by example could spawn a social movement. It could become the new cool for what’s expected of a surfer.