I Did It: Making a Positive Impact at the Beach

This summer, ISF has encouraged our supporters to make a difference in the environment and be the change the world needs to see. As editor of the Environment Division, I have read through every “I Did It” article and have been so inspired and moved by the positive change each of you are creating every day. Even more so, it has encouraged me to step up and do more on my part to inspire others to make a difference, too. My deepest thanks to all of you who continue to help the environment each and share those stories with us.

Recently, I went on vacation to Ocean City, Maryland, one of my favorite places to visit. I have been going there with my family almost every year since I was 7 years old. Now, I am about to turn 28 this year, and going to the beach has a different meaning and purpose from any time before.

I’m sure that by now, a lot of you have been encouraged by our Creatures Division to take action and clean up your local beach through their summer-long campaign: #ISF4Oceans. I, myself, have been inspired to join in and as I stepped onto the warm summer sand this year, the challenge was presented right at my feet.

For two miles, I walked down the beach surveying the large amounts of trash that had both been left in the sand by beachgoers earlier that day, as well as the saltwater drenched plastic and debris that had washed up on the shore as the tide changed. I picked up as much as I could, knowing I’d have to bring a bag with me the next day to recycle what I could. Unfortunately, there was trash of every kind littering the sand; broken beach chairs and umbrellas that had been carelessly tossed aside, sunglasses, hats, shoes, garden soil bags, cups, soda cans, food scraps, and of course, plastic bottles and wrappers.

Thankfully, at night, the city does have machines that comb the full length of the beach to sweep up a lot of the trash. However, within three years, they have doubled the number of clean up machines on the beach to combat with the large amounts of garbage being left behind.

Even though I was only at the beach a few days, I still feel like I made some impact and hopefully encouraged those people who watched me walk up and down the beach picking up trash, to be more conscientious, too. The number one thing to remember is to pick up after yourself and recycle everything you can! Please don’t rely on beach clean-up machines to do it for you because usually, a lot of the waste ends up in the ocean and harms the wildlife.

Remember, YOU are the change the world needs to see. Every positive gesture towards the environment does make a difference and depends on people like you to educate those who are not aware of the negative impacts on the planet.

-Photo Credit & Collage: Ashley L.

-Written by: Ashley L.