Monday, July 15, 2019

I've BIN recycling. Have you?

Ahoy mateys!

The All-Access Squad spent the week had a week of great fishing, haunted forts, and environmental stewardship at both George's Island and Peddocks Island. The beginning of our blazing hot week welcomed 1,000+ people aboard our boat to adventure to George's Island, where we had some catches we hadn't seen before: Atlantic rock crabs and a mixed-gene Blue Lobster! When we weren't on the docks, we were spending time in the George's Island fort, sharing the mystery of the Lady in Black. Our first week at George's Island brought us new learning opportunities, Boston Harbor history, and rare catches of the day.

Due to expected inclement weather, the All-Access squad brought our enthusiasm to Peddocks Island to work with National Parks Service, Green Ambassadors, and other harbor stewardship programs around Boston. We worked tirelessly in the woods of Peddocks, cutting down invasive plant species and cleaning up trails for visitors. Through the drizzles and the subsequent hot sun, we grew to appreciate the hard work that goes into keeping the harbor clean and available to all!

A tidal wave of plastic.

As depicted on the cover of National Geographic's 2018 issue, our planet is becoming a wasteland for billions of pounds of plastic waste. It calls on every individual to "Turn the Tide" and reduce personal plastic usage and encourage sustainable recycling practices.

I now challenge the reader to keep their eyes peeled. 

As we move through the motions of the mundane, remain attentive. Inspect your surroundings. Understand its implications. Then turn the tide.

Since I have learned about the treacherous reality of plastic in our oceans, I have noticed plastic everywhere. Floating in our harbor and sitting on our shores, water bottles, straws, bags, and trash plague our enjoyment, but most importantly, the health and well-being of all things, living and nonliving, and the natural world. The problem spans all land forms, both natural and man-made. If we open our eyes, accept the problem, and educate ourselves, we are equipped to address the issue accordingly.

Plastic in our harbor kills.
Both noticeable bigger plastic pieces, like cups, straws, bags, and wrappers, and microplastics, elusive plastic pieces that have eroded with the tide, are choking hazards to all marine life.  If an animal is not immediately killed by choking on plastic, they slowly suffer due to the consumption of microplastics, blocking its body from functioning properly. Seeing the trash in the harbor hurts. Seeing animals die because of the plastic hurts even more. Humans are now consuming microplastics from eating food that has accidentally consumed plastic. It's time to take action for all!

What can YOU do?
Be mindful! Notice your plastic habits, and try to cut it down. People often refer to the "Save the Turtles" movement to stop using plastic straws. This excitement is necessary, but we must focus on more than straws. I try using reusable coffee cups and water bottles, participating in Boston's no plastic bag policy, simply picking up trash on beaches or in the street, or waiting for a recycling bin as opposed to throwing plastic in the trash or dropping it in the street. When you make these small changes in your life, friends and family start to learn and follow. Lastly, plastic waste is a personal choice, but also comes largely from industrial and commercial use. While you do your best to reduce your plastic waste, encourage policies, regulations, and enforcement to ensure a healthy environment and a happy world.

Our small actions make a difference, so let's get to work for mother nature, all life, and the harbor!


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