The entire history of the environmental movement can be best explained as "some humans trying to fix or at least slow down what all the other humans are doing." A new report from the Ocean Conservancy says 560,000 people volunteered to pull garbage out of the seas last year, and they got a huge haul of toxic crap!
How much garbage? More than 10 million pounds in 2012, mostly stuff that washed up on beaches and was collected by hand during beach cleanup days.
What kind of garbage? Take a look:
Cigarette butts are the filthy winners. Do not smoke on the beach, even if it's "still legal." Do not throw your cigarette butts in a storm drain, even if it doesn't yet have a stenciled picture of a sad fish with the words "NO DUMPING! DRAINS TO OCEAN." The only thing worse than finding a cigarette butt on the beach during your nice beach walk is finding ... maybe one of those amputated feet that often wash up around Vancouver, or an old condom, with a penis still inside. Or this aberration.
Climate change and pollution and ecological collapse are all so daunting and depressing that any single human action can feel minuscule and meaningless, but beach cleanup days are that rare activity that produces a tangible and visible result while getting you outside on the water. Some people even find easy sex partners on beach cleanup days, so do take a look at your local beach cleanup group's calendar and see what's coming up in your area. (The next global beach cleanup day is September 21.)
Congratulations to the good people who helped clean up the ocean last year, and boo to the other 7 billion people who didn't do anything but make it worse.