Here I go again, spouting off about the state of the ocean. Well, yes. But this time I want to propose something really positive. A solution.
So here it is. Recently I’ve started doing mini beach cleans every time I go to the beach. I call them my #2minutebeachcleans and all I do is spend 2 minutes picking up a few bits of litter and disposing of them. It takes 2 minutes, which is actually longer than it takes me to me to take a picture and post it to instagram @martindorey and twitter @campervanliving.
Considering the scale of the problem this really is a pathetic, meaningless gesture, isn’t it? With every tide comes more plastic that’s been dumped, lost or washed into the sea so my two minutes really makes no difference at all. Or does it?
It’s easy to be filled with despair at the state of the environment – particularly when you see evidence of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Ocean gyres - and to think that anything you do will be insignificant compared to the amount of plastic that’s in the sea.
But actually, it isn’t. Every piece of plastic that I remove from the beach during my #2minutebeachclean is a piece of plastic that is no longer causing a threat to wildlife or leaching chemicals into the marine environment. It may be a minuscule effort compared to the size of the problem but it’s not without its significance.
It’s something at least, and it’s better than doing nothing if you care, like I do, about nature. I am trying to make it a habit so that it’s something I do every time I go to the beach. Sometimes it’s a ball ache to do but actually I feel better afterwards and the beach is just that little bit cleaner. So instead of selfishly taking my pleasure from this natural resource I am helping to heal it. Just that little bit. It also helps me to keep my resolve and to think about how I use plastic in my life. It makes me think twice about using bags, about buying cheap plastic goods and it makes me think about how I dispose of what I don’t need any more. It helps to change the way I live, slowly and surely.
So what if we all did it? Then we would be getting somewhere. If ten of us spent 2 minutes every day picking up litter off a local beach (or from a local park) then at the end of the year we’d have spent 5 whole days picking litter. That’s not insignificant is it?
Don’t live by the sea? How about a #2minutelitterpick every time you go out? Or a #2minutelitterpick every time you go camping or walking or hiking or down to the shops? OK so it’s not great picking up other people’s litter and they shouldn’t be leaving it in the first place but, the fact remains, it is there and unless some of us take responsibility, the chances are it’ll stay there. So don’t just walk past and tut quietly to yourself that this country is going to the dogs (or whatever), just bend down and pick it up, take it to the bin and dispose of it or recycle it. Job done.
The world is already a nicer place. Slowly we are winning.
Post your pics to instagram and twitter using the hastag #2minutebeachclean and we’ll soon be able to see what our efforts add up to.