There’s a lot going on in the world these days: political divides, racial profiling, #MeToo, and so much more. Sometimes I wonder what difference on my one life can make on a daily basis.
I remember a long time ago, when my dad came to a festival I was working at, on the Hudson River in Beacon. He saw an old guy picking up the papers and napkins people had dropped. A few hours later, he saw that same guy standing on the small stage, getting everyone to sing “Sailing Up, Sailing Down” as he played the banjo. That was the day my dad “got” Pete Seeger, even though they were on opposite sides of the nuclear power plant issue. He had seen with his own eyes that Pete’s actions were consistent with his words, and he respected that. Ever since then, when I see trash, I try to pick it up.
So there I was, on a beautiful stretch of beach, feeling overwhelmed by the news of the week, and there was this half-flat balloon. I picked it up, wet and sandy, and wrapped the string around it so I could carry it in my hand. And then I found a bottle cap and a straw and I picked them up, too. I found a plastic cup and filled it up with all kinds of colorful plastic trash in less than 15 minutes.
The next day I went out with a plastic bag and filled it as I walked by the high tide line. Plastic straws, plastic bottle caps, plastic filter thingies, all kinds of plastic crap went into the bag. By the end of an hour, that stretch of beach was clear of garbage.
It made me feel better, to do something with my own two hands to make the world – or at least a tiny bit of beach – a better place.
I think the world is going to be saved by millions of small things.