picking up the pieces

overwhelmed both by his stumble into cold water and the state of the beach

on the bright side, there's always a piece of rope handy when you need one... sigh

the emotional theme of february seems to have been overwhelmed. this was one of the days i felt it all just under the surface, threatening to boil over. overwhelmed by the enormity of the task of caring for mother earth, overwhelmed by the pervasive indifference. overwhelmed with gratitude that there are others out there who are trying, too. some links:

5 gyres (fighting the good fight against plastic in our oceans)

harmony art (documenting beaches in california looking a lot like ours here in oregon; harmony is a committed servant of the earth who designs organic cotton fabrics)

the green bag lady (she posts awesome info about plastic, that first link has an awesome video of a couple in california who use beach plastic to make incredible art. the green bag lady is on her way to see what’s out there in the ocean firsthand; her campaign against plastic bags is relentless and inspiring)

chris jordan (photography of dead baby albatrosses whose parents mistakenly fed them full of plastic bits; probably the best imagery i have seen to convey why we need to take this whole plastic problem more seriously)

these are just a few of the folks i’ve come across who i want to give a shout out to on days when i’m wondering why i forgot to bring my broom and dustpan (and a dumpster) to the beach… to the devil’s punch bowl state natural area, to be exact. and, gulp, i’m not giving up. i’m going to keep picking up as much of it as i can, continue to reduce my footprint as much as i can, and keep talking about it….

…tomorrow: much more uplifting post about quinn’s birthday, celebrated yesterday! my little man is four years old!!!

11 comments to picking up the pieces

  • SOOOOOO sad. I've seen Chris Jordan's work before. Oh my. As much as it is incredibly overwhelming, it is good to be reminded of what is going on out there. So many people are so apathetic to the situation of pollution, plastics in particular, but by talking about this reality we keep the conversation going. Thank you for this. <3

    Can't wait to read about Quinn's birthday. Four is a GREAT age. xoxo ~Debbie
    Debbie recently posted..family day

  • Over-whelmed could be my word of the day, too, and I DID boil over. I think it has to do with everything, just EVERYTHING I do as a parent, a denizen of this planet, while trying to be a wife and take care of myself, too. It's soooo good to be mindful about these things, but also not to allow ourselves to get bombarded by it, either.

    Sorry about your beach. 🙁 🙁
    Lisa C recently posted..Pressure to Potty-Train

  • MJ

    Thanks for this post. I just watched "Tapped" for the first time last week and it still lingers in my head. I quit buying plastic water bottles awhile ago, but the problem is plastic itself, not just the water bottles. All your links are amazing and I wish they could be posted on every blog at the same time.
    MJ recently posted..This moment A Sweet Moment

    • marybethrew

      hi mj- thanks for your comments. if i am reading you right, it sounds like you are saying, the problem isn't just what the plastic is doing to your health when you drink water out of it (i'm guessing you've read up on bpa and other toxins in the plastic), but the manufacture of the plastic, the existence of the plastic, the non-renewable resource it consumes, the problem of it never going away, the problem of it killing ecosystems- am i getting that right? i think it is a great way to become aware of the problem, to start by thinking of our own health, and i think many people do, in fact i think many people don't start to think of this stuff until they have a baby whose health they realize they value (and then maybe they move to thinking of their own health, if they haven't before, and outward in increasingly larger circles until they realize it's the whole planet's health on the line…) i wish i had been able to think of a positive "spin" on this post, but laying all those pictures out there just felt so heavy and by the time i was adding in the links…. ugh. but then again seeing your comment, i realize that the only way forward is to keep going, keep becoming more conscious of my own, my son's, my community's, my planet's health, and doing everything i can to lessen the damage.

  • MJ

    Yes to everything you said!!! We have such a responsibility to our planet, we just can't keep ignoring it. I often battle with feelings of helplessness, the feeling that perhaps what we do is never enough. I just finished reading Ishmael by Daniel Quinn last week. Such a powerful message…

    Anyway, I linked to your post in my blog today, hope you stop by for a peek :).
    MJ recently posted..Let nature be your teacher William Wordsworth

  • I'm overwhelmed with you looking at the pictures of the beach. I would help you if I could with your endeavour to picking up when you can.

    I'm reminded of this Ted video: http://www.ted.com/talks/dianna_cohen_tough_truth
    Annie recently posted..Lily’s New Smile

  • In a word… wow. I assume these pictures were taken after a storm. At least I hope it isn't always that bad. sigh. big sigh.

    I just come home from a lecture by Judith Selby Lang : http://www.gualalaarts.org/Groups/Lecture/2011-03… She and her husband have been picking up plastic on one beach since 1998. She says she isn't attempting to "clean the beach" – it can't be done – but rather she is "curating it" and turning what they find into art. It was amazing to hear her talk about getting excited about her "finds".

    Thank you MB for being someone who cares and IS doing something about it. You inspire me too! PS Happy Birthday Quinn!!!

    • marybethrew

      it isn't always this bad, every place on the oregon coast beaches, and sometimes they look downright pristine. but i have seen it this bad at times (not just on this day)… yes, usually after a storm or at least during winter time is when it's worst (and most stormy).

      that is so cool that you got to hear judith lang speak- i saw her video with richard via teresa (green bag lady) and it was very moving. i still don't know how to feel ok with it being a matter of curating rather than cleaning but i guess it's all in the attitude- they're doing an amazing job of cleaning, and putting the energy to creative use.

  • Awww, thanks Mary Beth for the shout out. I appreciate you so much! You are the best. Thank you for making this information available to others!
    Teresa recently posted..More Chile Pics…March 8

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