Every year, tons of plastic ends up in the ocean and the thought is that, by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than there are fish. With this thought in mind, it was a rewarding experience as a summer associate at Bilzin Sumberg to provide assistance to the local community through a volunteer beach cleanup event hosted by SFALP.
We gathered together, bright and early, at Key Biscayne beach and with our buckets in hand, we were off to restore the beach to its natural beauty. We split into a few smaller groups so that we could cover as much ground as possible. Our cleanup revealed many bottle caps, glass, fishing lines, plastic bags, cigarette buds, straws, and canned drinks. These items come from various sources, but the number one source is street-based litter from people who throw out trash that makes its way into the ocean.
While the experience was rewarding, it was also concerning because clean beaches improve coastal and ocean ecosystems, our oxygen comes from plant life in the ocean, and many animals, like sea turtles, die when they mistake the plastic for food. That is why, it should be everyone’s mission to help reduce the toxins that disrupt aquatic life. My suggestions are:
#1 – Instead of single-use plastic products, like water bottles, purchase reusable water bottles and straws, bring your own reusable bag when shopping, and recycle.
#2 – Reduce your carbon footprint by turning off the water while you brush your teeth or wash the dishes, taking efficient showers, and limiting waste.
#3 – Volunteer! and encourage others to help keep the beaches clean too!
Some of my fellow summer associates weighed in on the importance of volunteering and the rewarding experience we had together:
“Volunteering is a nice way to serve the community while getting to know others [the Summer Associates] better!” – Sarah Carraher
“I appreciated the sense of community volunteering built! Seeing everyone work together toward a common goal was very rewarding.” – Savannah Bergeron
“Volunteering was a nice way to learn more about one another in a setting outside of the office that I think helped solidify the community we are building within the office!” – Ariana Wagner
Whichever decisions, whether big or small, that you decide to contribute in making a difference, I leave you with this quote:
“Of course one person can change the world! There wouldn’t be anyone named Alexander, if it wasn’t for Alexander the Great” – Carlos Markovich