Monday, June 24, 2013


 "The trash and litter of nature disappears into the ground with the passing of each year, but man’s litter has more permanence."
John Steinbeck

It's past time to get off my butt and get back to picking up other people's nasty butts.  Cigarette butts, that is.  They are everywhere.  Flicked out of windows, rubbed out underneath flip flops, stuck bottom-side-up in the sand.  The smell of tobacco rivals the scent of salt water as this beautiful beach remains a smoking beach.

The determination to begin this project again comes at the urging of friend and new Life Coach, Bo Mackison.  Bo is trying to jump start my creative again.  We agreed that this project is a good way to get my feet wet...and sandy...and do some good.

Consider these statistics, all of which vary slightly according to sources.  I imagine these decomp estimates must be taken with a grain of salt.  Bright, hot sunshine and fresh air hastens the process while junk buried underneath sand and soil or waves enjoy a much longer process of decomposition...if ever.  Still, all are lengthy regardless:  (,

Paper towel - 2-4 weeks
Paper bag - 1 month
Apple core - 2 months
Cigarette butts - 1-5 years
Milk cartons - 5 years
Plastic six-pack holders - 400 years
Orange and banana peels - 2-5 weeks
Balloons - 6 months
Plastic coated paper - 6 months
Tinned steel can - 5 years
Plastic bags -  20-1,000 years
Aluminum cans - 50 years
Wool socks - 1-5 years
Plastic bottles - 450 years
Nylon string - 600 years
Leather - 50-80 years
Glass bottles - 1,000 years

My friend, Danielle, at It Starts With Me has been logging trash and cigarette butts for quite some time now.  My intentions to help her came from a good spot in my heart but I was simply unable to carry the action forward in positive fashion.  I'm coming clean.  In more ways than one.  I mean to do this.  It's good for me and it's good for the ocean, for our planet.  Moreover, it makes me feel like I'm doing something, however small my contribution. 

Sea turtles cannot distinguish between a free-floating plastic bag and a jellyfish, its usual diet.  Birds and turtles, dolphins and whales - creatures of sea and of earth - are filling up on our refuse and dying all around this planet of ours.  And we call ourselves sentient beings, humans.

Edited to "Fossils" by Aoife O'Donovan


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