If there is one thing I am forever grateful for in this world, it’s Mumma Earth.
She is not only our Mother, our nurturer and our provider, but she is also the home in which we live in this physical realm. She is the reason we exist, the reason we breathe, the reason we can adventure and swim and run and jump and feel and love. She is an extraordinary giver; selfless and divine. And yet all we seem to do as humans is take and take and take. We consume so heavily, so frequently and in such excess that we are depleting her from her sources. We are killing our Mother land. Wasting it away, and leaving behind a trail of debris, toxicity and waste. We are depleting her of all of her resources, and then rubbing it in her face.
As an individual, I have become more and more aware of the footprint our human existence is having on our planet. I am seeking knowledge and exploring suppressed truths. I am researching, and keeping my eyes and ears open; constantly wanting to grow and help in whatever way I can.
For me, this means watching documentaries, choosing to eat consciously and as naturally as possible, consuming from ethical and sustainable sources whenever and wherever possible, choosing to support ethical brands and limiting the waste I create and use by reusing, reducing and recycling as often as possible. I am aware of the impact my existence has on this earth, and with that awareness also comes shame and guilt. I am slowly becoming more alert of the options I have to help reduce the negative effect my being costs this earth, but I am also not perfect. I am not always able to bring my own reusable water bottle, or I forget to pack my own metal straws or my own reusable bags for groceries. It is becoming more and more frequent that I remember, however I still feel that surely there is MORE I can be doing. More that WE, as humans, can be doing both individually and collectively to aid in the reduction of the cost that our human lives are having on the world. The price our Mother Earth is paying is simply not fair.
So yes, there are things we can do as individuals such as becoming more aware of the truth, bringing your own bags instead of using plastic, and investing in some multi-use eco straws and toothbrushes, beginning to purchase from local and ethical brands and stores/farmers for items and produce, reusing and refilling jars and containers instead of constantly buying new packets and waste, becoming aware of water usage, washing the car over the lawn, properly disposing of rubbish and recycling, perhaps starting a compost in your backyard, or growing your own fruits and vegetables, or even simply grabbing a few pieces of rubbish from your local beach or park each time you go to enjoy it. But in comparison to the unimaginable devastation we are creating, it feels so insignificant. And I want to be able to do more; do better.
So, I asked myself HOW. And the first thing that popped in to my mind was hosting a beach clean up.
At the time, I was in Nicaragua. A place bursting with raw beauty and colour and energy and LIFE! Unfortunately, it is also a place where that natural beauty is slowly being consumed by human impacts. The beaches and streets were littered with plastics, trash and grime.
I’d recently been in Bali, and I know for a fact they have a big issue with their waste system also. And as I was heading to Hawaii in a couple of days, I knew that there would be beaches tickled with washed up plastics and trash there also. So, I grabbed my boyfriend, and decided to organise a beach clean up in Oahu!
We kept it pretty casual, to ensure it seemed accessible and open to everyone, we organised a day and a time and a place and we posted in social media to help 1. round up as many people as we could and 2. Help raise awareness of the cause and the necessity of it. I was hoping that even if people were unable to attend our beach clean up due to prior obligations, or geographical/location obstacles, that perhaps they would want to host their OWN beach clean up, on their OWN beaches or parks.
We chose Makapúu Beach, a place known to locals as needing a bit of TLC (tender-lovin’-care) and cleaning, decided on a morning, grabbed some bags and hand sanitiser and headed down.
We were joined by one of the local health food companies crew (shout out to Banan!), who brought down big speakers, micro-plastic sieves and a whole lot of helping hands! And then people starting showing up to join in! Some by themselves, some with friends or co-workers/students, and together we worked our way down the beach, sifting through sand and seaweed and plastic bottles, broken plastics, and even micro plastics from things like face washes. The beach we were cleaning was notorious for collecting these plastics as the Pacific Plastic Patch often leaks directly toward the island. So even though we knew that as soon as we had finished picking up the plastic, more would appear, it was worth it to know that the impact we were having was somewhat positive and beneficial for our mother Earth.
We stayed there for about 2 hours, cleaning the beach and chatting to each other (it is actually a surprisingly social thing to do!) and with about 30-40 hands helping we managed to pick up over 70 pounds of rubbish (mostly micro plastics!!) within one morning AND we had fun doing it!
I know that beach clean-ups aren’t everyone’s thing, and that’s okay. But I do firmly believe there are countless other alternatives we can take in order to help come together and begin having a positive impact on this Planet.
We can he helpful, not harmful.
If hosting a beach clean up is something you’d like to organise, or some other kind of event, I definitely recommend it! After all, doing good, FEELS good!
A few things you may want to think of when hosting a beach clean up:
- Who can come?
- When will it be?
- Look at tides (high or low)
- Weather Forecast
- Will You provide water for people to drink? Food? Snacks?
If so, how can you do this consciously and without waste or plastic?
- What will you collect waste in? Are there better alternatives than using plastic bags? (We used reusable hay bags from a local farmer)
- What will you do with the rubbish after the clean up? How can you dispose of it properly?
- Will you clean up recyclable items in separate bags? And then dispose separately? How?
- Will you wear and/or provide gloves for volunteers? Plastic one-use gloves which you can add to trash after? Or find alternatives to plastic such as gardening gloves or sanitiser or garbage picks etc?
- Will you be dealing with a lot of large plastics or micro plastics? Investing in or building sieves (wooden frames with wire/mesh insides) to help sort through sand and plastic.
- Music? Want to bring some vibes? Does anyone have a large portable/wireless speaker you could use/borrow?
- Sunscreen (again, can you fins a good ethical, cruelty free, natural brand? My favourite is Sun Bum! It’s all vegan, cruelty free and reef safe so it doesn’t hurt our underwater sanctuaries either!)
- First aid kit (In case of accidents/injuries)
- Sign up sheet (gather peoples names and emails, this way you can reconnect with them after and send them a little “thank you!”
Of course, these are all optional. You could simply just rock up on a beach and begin cleaning and see who helps you!
You could also reach out to organisations in your local area who do beach clean ups. You could join them, or alternatively suggest new ideas to them!
I hope whatever you do, you have as much fun as we did! It was such a wonderful way to get people together, connect and make new friendships!
My hope is that you too can experience a deep bonding over a mutual love for our mother Earth!
love and light,