My husband and I traveled a lot after Christmas this year. First we visited Santa Cruz, California. (I'll have a post about that soon.) Immediately following that trip, Art attended a conference in West Palm Beach, Florida, and I tagged along so I could see some South Florida nature, so we flew from coast to coast (a blog post about that will follow, too.) On the last day of his meeting, I decided to go visit John D. MacArthur State Park, which was about a half hour from our hotel. It's a barrier island and because it has a long stretch of undeveloped beach, it is a good place for sea turtles to nest in the summer months.
|Old sea turtle egg shells from a summer hatching that I found on the beach.|
|Tiny Loggerhead Turtle|
|Miles of Undeveloped Beach|
|Not Looking Good|
Ranger Rob swam into the water and reached the turtle in just a minute.
|Retrieving the Turtle|
|Looking for injuries or signs of life|
|The turtle didn't make it.|
|Ranger Art talking about the sea turtle|
|It was so special to be this close to the turtle|
|Sad, beautiful eyes|
|Carrying the turtle back to the ranger station|
|Rope stuck in the rocks under the sand|
|What's wrong with this picture? Little plastic pieces everywhere.|
|Don't get me started on balloons. I hate them. This one was caught in the protected dune plants so I didn't go in after it. I'm sure the park staff will take care of it.|
When I got back to the trash can, I had planned to lay out all my collection and take a photo to show how many small plastic bags, plastic shoes and bits of styrofoam I had found in my half hour of cleaning, but I was afraid the wind would blow it away. This is my bag, pretty much full:
|Just a small assortment.|
So where does the trash come from? Some is probably just carelessly dropped by visitors to the beach. But some washes off of boats, blows off of piers, out of trash cans, and even flies out of garbage trucks on the way to the dump. I witnessed trash blowing out of a garbage truck as I drove away from the park down A1A later in the day. So even if you put your trash in the can, it might blow out and end up in the environment. Some people are careless, but sometimes accidents happen. You can read an interesting article about ocean trash from National Geographic News by clicking here. It seems like the best solution is just to create less waste. But it's not that easy. I'm all for measures like banning plastic bags and plastic water bottles, but they are just a small part of the immense problem. In our disposable society, there is plastic packaging on almost everything and our products are not made to last. When something breaks, we just throw it away and buy another. The coasts and parks and ditches are loaded with old tires, TV's, and other crap that people didn't want any more and just tossed. I was surprised and sad to find trash in the Peruvian Amazon when we visited a few years ago. The importance of reducing my impact isn't new news to me. I've been aware of it for much of my life. But somehow seeing that beautiful turtle made it more real and urgently important. I don't even know if it was trash that killed it, but I want to work harder to make the world a better place for other turtles and other creatures, including myself. It's important to me to be able to someday see a free, healthy sea turtle in the wild, and not only through the glass of an aquarium. So I resolve to do my part to cut back, to reduce, re-use and recycle with a vengeance, and keep my crap from ending up in the ocean and the environment. This is for the sake of the turtles and for the world we all live in.
|We all have to do our part.|