Have you ever heard of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (GCSC)? I hadn't, until last year. It's pretty much what you would expect from the title. People join together to cleanup shores around lakes and rivers and the oceans, all across Canada, for a few weeks in September. After reading about it, I thought it would be a great thing to participate in. It would be good for me and my family, good for my community, and especially good for the environment in this wonderful and beautiful, coastal city I live in, called Vancouver. I thought, wouldn't this be a great lesson to teach my children? It would help me to teach them about giving back to mother nature, the way that she gives to us everyday. I always tell them about how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place, with mountains and the ocean and so much to do outdoors. But isn't it also great to teach them how to take care of this place and not to take it for granted?
I was really stoked to do it last year, but then life stepped in and changed my plans. Not to make excuses, really it was just that a bunch of other things came up. Two birthday parties and an Aunt that wanted to see the kids on the particular day we signed up for. It ended up being a crazy day of driving all over and visiting and kiddie party madness, but it was a great day. I was really bummed that we didn't get to do the cleanup though, especially because I was telling everyone that we were doing it and I was asking friends if they wanted to participate too. So I made a promise to myself that we would do it next year.
And next year is here. I just signed up today. I am going to do it right this year. I was even contemplating being a site coordinator and taking on a whole area to organize by myself. But I decided to be realistic and just participate this year and see what it's like. If it's something I think I can handle on my own, then maybe I can be a coordinator next year.
Doing this kind of thing is important to me. I took an Environmental Studies program in college and it was really eye opening. I learned so many things in those two years. One thing that really shook me up was seeing a picture of a lake that was turned into a dumping ground for electronics. People would come there to find parts to sell, or scrounge for copper or other metals in the stuff that was dumped there. It was so filled with junk that it didn't even look like a lake anymore, it looked like a garbage dump, but it was just filled with electronics. I was looking on the internet to see if I could find that same picture (which I'm sure is really old, I saw it at school, about nine years ago), and I couldn't. But I did find some other horrible pictures. Like this...
The Citarum River in Indonesia
I really don't want the beautiful place, that my family and I call home, to end up like these places. So I am doing my part to help. If you feel inspired too, and you live in Canada and want to join, click here to find a cleanup site in your area. If you don't live in Canada, but want to help out where you live, here are some other shoreline cleanup programs: