I woke up this morning at 5 am to get a jump on the day before heading up to Key Biscayne for the Miami Waterkeeper's Ambassador Program Series. It was too early in the morning for me to even think straight, but I managed to get a few cups of coffee in and get the kids up and assembled for the day’s upcoming events. We loaded into the car and headed out for the fun of morning rush hour traffic in Miami.
It is the beginning of summer, which means no school. No school means a lot less traffic than is typical so we arrived to Key Biscayne with plenty of time to spare. We decided to take advantage of the extra time and take a quick stroll on the beach to pass the time. We found ourselves at Hobie Island Beach Park, a quaint little dog-friendly beach, no longer than a mile long, located just off the Rickenbacker Causeway.
I have been coming to this beach for years but today’s visit was a bit disappointing. Dead sea grass piled up at the shoreline producing an awful smell and garbage littered the beach. It was disturbing to see it like that. My mind went crazy wanting to pick it all up. So I did, a bottle cap here, a plastic bag there. The kids began to follow suit and within seconds our hands were completely full. We walked to a trash can and emptied our haul but the kids asked if we could do more. “We don't have gloves or trash bags" I said and they replied “So what? Just grab the trash can and pull it along the beach". After a moment of contemplating whether or not this would get me in trouble, I decided it was worth the risk.
So, with that, the impromptu beach cleanup began. I unhooked the can from the pole and rolled it onto the beach. The kids began running back and forth, handful after handful, with the occasional "EWWWWW, That's Gross" (dirty diapers!). I couldn’t believe the amount of trash. The more I looked the more I found. It was as if someone were throwing trash down as I was picking it up; bottles, glass, string, paper, bottle caps, straws, rope, nets, some loose change ($.35), and
NEEDLES. I was so disappointed! Why was there so much trash? Trash cans line the beach. They are literally within 40 feet of you no matter where you are standing. It was incredibly sad, but today I was grateful to be amongst people who care and were willing to make an effort to make a difference. We were only able to comb about 500 feet, less than 10%, of the beach, but we filled an entire trash can. Yea I know, it was a just a small dent but it felt good to do something. With only two adults, three kids and an hour of free time we were able to make a small contribution. It felt really good to make a difference. Everyone has a part in this world and we choose what that part is. What’s your Part?