Susan – Project Ocean

When I was in my early twenties, now this was back in the early 1990’s mind you, I went on a cross country tent camping trip with a friend. Now every place we stopped in this beautiful country was memorable, but as our Click & Pledge Foundation is focusing on Project Ocean, it has me thinking back to camping on the Padre Island National Seashore at Corpus Christi, Texas. 

When we were there, it was off season, so we had most of the beach to ourselves. The shoreline felt untouched and wild, almost otherworldly, but what is ingrained on my memory is the…TRASH. Each day we stayed there, more trash washed ashore. It was shocking and sad to see the bottles, plastics, and other identifiable and unidentifiable trash littering this pristine shore. Certainly, I was aware of pollution before, but seeing it in action cemented the problem of pollution in the Gulf of Mexico and really all bodies of water. Because it all came from somewhere, right?

So, as I go about living my life, I try to keep in mind the three R’s – reduce, reuse, and recycle. And one way I feel I can help is by cutting down on my use of plastics – specifically plastic shopping bags from retailers. I do this by using reusable bags. Every time I collect a new bag, sometimes they are freebie bags from stores or conferences, I just add them to my collection. So, I have bags of bags I keep in my car. Then when I go shopping I have them with me. Now, do I always remember my reusable bags when I go shopping? No. I’m not perfect. But when I do, I feel really good. I also love that when I use them, I can pack more into them than the standard plastic bags they give you at the store, so it is more efficient there as well. Some stores will even reward you when you use your own bags. For example, Target will give you 5 cent discount for each reusable bag you use, up to five bags.

Now I have to admit, when I think about all the actions I could take to help our environment, I can easily get overwhelmed. But something I have been hearing lately that has helped me put this in perspective, is that this is not about perfection, but if everyone does a little to reduce, reuse, recycle – it can make a significant impact.

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