I joined my very first Surfrider Trail Cleanup. They teamed up with Patagonia, and a bunch of people came out on a Saturday to pick up garbage! We went on a lovely little trail, to garbage pickers and large buckets. This is what I learned:
- Drinking beer and going to the forest is very common, according to all the beer cans we found
- Tree stumps apparently look like perfect garbage cans to throw your Starbucks cup in and bottles of water. Plastic bottles and chip bags really do last forever
- Everyone thinks doggy poop bags actually biodegrade, (They don’t! So stop throwing them in the forest!)
- All the garbage just ends up rolling down the cliff and steeps hills and into the waterways.
- I hate balloons (okay granted, I already knew this before I did the clean up, but seriously your helium balloons and the string its attached to that are released into the sky just end up in a forest or beach, only to be eaten by animals! ugh!)
- You will find odd things in the forest, like a pink disposable razor, a broken bowl and a frying pan.
- You can inspire people about helping the environment just by being there.
#7 was a lesson learnt from a lady who walked past us telling us we moved her. She said next time she comes she will bring a plastic bag and do the same thing. We offered her a plastic bag and her kids and her family excitedly staring at the ground looking for garbage. It was really really heart warming to see that by vocalizing her opinion, her children followed in her footsteps. When she passed us on her way back from her hike, I saw her bag filled with some garbage that she and her kids found. Amazing.
Most people who we ran into, were very pleased and thankful for what we were doing. I almost wanted to say that I wish we didn’t have to do it, that people should just really learn how to use a garbage can, but it felt good to know so many people saw the importance in it.
Thanks to Surfrider for making this all possible. I can’t wait to join the next one!