I have begun a love affair with glass. It began with my second son being born when we decided to use glass bottles instead of plastic. Then I began canning and using old jars I found for art projects. As my love affair with glass continues, my disdain for plastics increases. Though I understand their undeniable necessity and convenience, there is no denying that within the very small timeline of their existence, they have made a very big impact.
Now BK has begun to wrap his four-year old head around plastics and litter as a whole. We were at Hobuck Beach in Neah Bay for Independence Day this year. BK and I took a walk along the beach to see the sights and he asked why there were so many fireworks in the sand. This is when I explained to him what litter was. He understood it, as well as a preschooler can.
“Mom! Look! Litter! If I ever saw someone litter, I would punch them in the nose! Me and Spider-man would catch him, because he would be the BAD GUY!”
As we walked the beach he asked lots of questions like:
Where does the litter come from?
Where does it go?
Who put it there?
Can’t we just pick it all up?
More recently, on our trip to Golden Gardens we were walking along the beach collecting rocks, just he and I, and he shouted, “Mom! Litter!” As if the world would end! I looked and saw a plastic bag, wrapped up in seaweed, slowly being taken out to sea with the waves. I ran out and grabbed it. As we made our walk back to our spot, we used it to pick up the litter we saw. For a very short walk, we had a very full bag.
More recently, I was out without BK, in Commencement Bay at the mouth of the Puyallup River aboard the M/V Indigo. I was teaching some kids about water quality testing (salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, etc.) When we approached the mouth that was flowing into the sound, it was brown with river dirt and carrying wood and natural debris from the river. But it was also carrying aerosol cans, plastic bags, bottle caps and that was just from my side of the boat.
Why am I rambling about this? Because this topic is an important one in our family. My son is getting to the age where he asks where things come from and why they are here in the first place. I’m hoping that if I continue to give him the best answers I can, maybe he can be part of the a generation that makes things worse instead of better. Here is a group of local families trying to do the same:
Plastic is Forever: Bainbridge Island Watershed Council
Take the 11 minutes to watch the documentary, it’s really good.