Daily beach cleanups, eco-blogger style

BlogHer Original Post

One of the oddest things about blogging is that an online post can make you see your real life neighborhood from a strangely close distance -- transforming your reality into a surreal cyberreality -- and vice versa. That's what my neighbor Sara Bayles's blog, The Daily Ocean, has done to my world, online and off.

I've never met Sara -- but I know she lives in my town, Santa Monica -- and that she visits Life Guard Station 26 and collects trash for 20 minutes almost every day -- and documents her collection. Through her I know that on July 31 at that beach -- which I bike by pretty often -- was not just the usual plastic bottles and cigarettes but also 2 maxi pads and undies. Gross!

Sara can't make it to the beach every day -- but she plans to collect on 365 days for this project, tallying up the amount of trash she's found. So far the project's been going just 39 days -- and is already 223.2 lbs heavy. Yes, there are aspects of Sara's project that get me a bit depressed about the state of our beaches. Can't beachgoers learn to pick up their pet's poop, for example? Sarah gets down sometimes:

The beach was really dirty today. I found it depressing. Summer is here and people are enjoying the beaches, but the trash collection has gone up with the temperature. This project is harder to do than I thought it would be. Emotionally, I find it difficult to collect trash for 20 min. and not get to half of what I see on the ground between two Life Guard Stands.

But Sara's also made me see the beautiful aspects of the beach that I never even took time to notice, that I just took for granted. On July 29, Sara posted a photo of a seagull's legs:

Have you aver noticed Sea Gulls legs and feet? They have a wide variety of colors. The shades range from pastel pinks, to greens, and blues. I have grown fond of observing the color variations in their legs. I enjoy it when Sea Gulls join me on my walk. They see me with a bag, and assume I may have food for them. I end up with 3 -4 followers on a given day. This gives me many opportunities to observe these birds that beach goers take for granted, or as a nuisance because they steal food from your blanket. I would like to put in a plug to appreciate them, they are beautiful birds, and in my opinion, especially their legs.

This 365 non-consecutive-days-project will likely take a few years, Sara says. I'll be following her blog -- and trying to find out more about her. This post is actually partly an attempt to get in touch with Sarah, since her blog has no contact info, and the comments I leave disappear into Blogspot land (This has been happening to me with a few Blogspot blogs. WTF?!). Sara -- Email me!

Other cool long eco projects bloggers have taken on:

>> Angela Barton's 8 months into her Compact deal -- that means buying nothing new for a year. She blogs her progress at My Year Without Spending. (via mnn)

>> Fellow BlogHer contributing editor Beth Terry has been documenting her weekly plastic consumption on Fake Plastic Fish for years now!

>> This isn't a blog, but certainly a long-term eco project: A guy called Daniel Suelo's been living cash-free -- that's right, no money! -- since 2000. The caveman lifestyle (literally!) certainly isn't for everyone, but Suelo isn't entirely alone either. Writes Christopher Ketcham in men.style.com: "Suelo tells me that years ago he had a neighbor in the canyon, an alcoholic who lived in a cave bigger than his. The old man would pan for gold in the stream and net enough cash each month to buy the beer that kept him drunk."

Photos by Sara Bayles / The Daily Ocean
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BlogHer Contributing Editor Siel is now extra motivated to join the next beach cleanup. She also blogs at greenLAgirl.com.

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