Predictably, the kids got a little bored of looking for lentil sized pieces of plastic - the beach equivalent of asking them to pick up their Lego I suppose. The sea has been wild this week, and had washed up plenty of inspiration to capture their interest, like this little fella:
I've never seen a hermit crab in the wild, and it took my breath away - a blast of that wonder I felt as a child when I found tiny fish in rockpools, or a squid washed up on the shore - and with it the realisation that I'd found something precious, and that I wanted to protect it.
We walked along the beach for around three hundred metres, and I scoured the shoreline for nurdles and other plastic waste; whilst the rest of the gang stocked up on shells, pet rocks and crab limbs. We ate our picnic, complete with individually wrapped crisps, yoghurts and punnet fruit - and made our way back up to the prom.
I didn't know whether my one bag of plastic rubbish was something I should be pleased about or annoyed. It could be worse, right?
Not ten feet from where we landed on the prom, stacked neatly next to the public waste bin, were 7 huge white sacks full of rubbish, collected earlier that day by an official beach clean event. I'd collected the scraps left behind.
Dani at Eco Footprint ~ South Africa shared this short documentary on her blog, and I think it is worth a watch. It is infuriating and frustrating - and yet, there is a small thread of hope running through it.
I keep having moments of realisation regarding my plastic footprint, but in the same way it took me years to embrace veganism, it's taken me years to really feel like I could embrace a plastic-free or even zero-waste lifestyle. I've attempted it before, failed, and given up - not convinced that it is impossible, but rather that I am not up to the task; that it won't make any difference, that there is no point if the rest of the family won't come on board.
I think I am just about ready for it. I can't stand it any more, the damage I do that is completely preventable. First do no harm.