I’ve been thinking a lot about the environment lately. I have recycled for years and some would say I’m a little nutty about it. I buy only eco-friendly products regardless of what it is: shampoo, soap, household cleaning products, aluminum foil, water bottles … should I go on? I take quicker showers than ever before in efforts to conserve water. I limit soaking in a bath-tub to being a luxury of once every month or so, even though it’s something I totally love to do. I set my washer to the eco-cycle, not really knowing what that does entirely. I brought back empty shampoo bottles from Lebanon so that I can recycle them here because there’s not a facility to do so there. I use my shopping bags for everything; I actually can’t remember the last time I used a paper or plastic bag from a store. I drill all these ideas into my husband and kid’s heads all the time. However, I feel it’s still not enough.
A pristine ocean to swim in
Lebanon sits along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. My husband loves the ocean, so we took the opportunity to go to the ocean while he was there. He loves the way the salt water makes him feel and he absolutely loves swimming around in it. When I lived in Lebanon, which was about 17 years ago, the water was extremely polluted and it was unheard of to go in it. That was a concern of mine this time around, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the water was super clean at the first beach we went to. It was so nice to go in there and play around as a family. The kids loved going “wave hunting” with their dad and had a blast in that pristine water.
Plastic bottles don’t really belong in the ocean, do they?
The second time we went to the beach, my experience wasn’t quite the same. We found a lot of trash floating around in the water. My kids made their dad take a plastic bag full of trash out of the water. It wasn’t so polluted that we didn’t feel like being in there, but there was definitely some plastic floating around here and there. My kids now were “trash hunting” instead of wave hunting, so that “the fish in the ocean could have a safe place to live” as I was informed by two concerned boys. I am very proud of them to say the least!
I took out a plastic bag that had been ripped in half, a plastic bottle, a snorkel piece and a few more miscellaneous items. I thought about the fact that none of these plastic things had deteriorated at all. If you were to put a paper towel in the water, I’d bet it would start breaking down within a few minutes of those waves crashing on it.
Oprah’s show on “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch”
I thought to myself, it is totally up to you, me and the rest of humanity to take care of our Earth. I remembered watching an Oprah special where they talked about “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” which stretches from the coast of California to Japan, and it's estimated to be twice the size of Texas. This is believed to be the biggest garbage patch and it’s in our ocean! You can find the article at http://www.oprah.com/world/Ocean-Pollution-Fabien-Cousteaus-Warning-to-the-World. Read it and prepare to be shocked, angered and appalled. This is a quote from this article, “Experts say plastic trash has already killed millions of sea birds and marine mammals. In one case, pieces of plastic and a cigarette lighter were found in the stomach of a dead albatross.” Can you imagine that? A cigarette lighter in the stomach of a bird! That to me is unacceptable and inexcusable.
It’s up to you and me to do our part in conserving the environment
I have been saddened by all that trash we took out of the ocean since the day we did it. I feel like we can totally turn things around if we were to be a little more thoughtful in the way we do things. I’m sure no one intentionally throws a plastic bottle into the ocean, but the negligence of leaving it on the sand for the waves to take it in, may be just as bad.
I have made another pact with the environment and that is to be 100% eco-friendly from now on. There are three things in my household that are not eco-friendly that I can think of right away and they are: trash bags, sandwich baggies and my husband’s shampoo. Those will be eliminated immediately regardless of how disgruntled my husband will get from bio-degradable trash bags and organic hair products. We all have to do this together to save our planet. I’m all in, are you?
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Ordering cloth sandwich bags!