Jan 8, 2012

Message in a Bottle

6 R's of Responsibility

Above is a picture of a bottle I filled with bits of plastic pulled out of the kelp after a large swell this week. It only took 30 minutes to fill it.

a good swell...

Never before have I seen so many little pieces of styrofoam and bottle caps on the shore in our area of California. Or maybe this is the first time I have noticed, though I doubt that. I have been looking for a while now.

This is 2012 is folks. If this really is the last year of our civilization, how would we want to go out? With bits and pieces of plastic as our epitaph? Or do we want to create something different, and write a new story?

The message in the bottle tells the story of all the individual pieces and their journey. A bottle cap blown overboard during a fishing adventure. A shotgun shell casing fired into the air for a prank. Styrofoam packaging that carried the burgers on the grill to the beach barbecue. Balloons launched in the air to celebrate a wedding.

Some stories were cut short. A lighter that was consumed by a fishing bird will not speak of its journey to us until it washes up in the carcass of a starved cormorant. The floating bits of styrofoam that looked like fish eggs never made it to the bottle, but they made it to our plate in the belly of that Alaskan salmon we had for dinner.

What do all these stories have in common? We are all a part of it. Every one of us contributed to the message in this bottle. And we can all listen to the story and write a new chapter: one in which we choose not to use plastic if possible.

It's double time. We need to double the 3 R's of recycling.

Here are the 6 R's of Responsibility:

Refuse to use it.
Ask for no bag at the store, or no straw at the restaurant.

When you can't refuse it,
Reduce your use of it.
Buy shampoo not in a bottle.

When you can't reduce it,
Re-use it.
Take old shopping bags to the store to fill them again, or pull them out of the recycle bin in front if you forget.

When you can't re-use it anymore,
Repurpose it.
Make art with it!

When you can't repurpose it,
Recycle it.
Turn it into clothing or a Chico Bag!

When you can't recycle it,
Reclaim it.
Plastic is oil- it makes energy.

Did you get the message? The ocean did.