The Bahamas Pitch-In

I really like Stocking Island. Its beaches are phenomenal, the almost white sand feels like flour, it’s so soft, and the water colour covers all shades of turquoise and blue. Stocking Island’s beach on the Atlantic side is probably one of the cleanest, East-facing beaches in all of The Bahamas. Just a minimum of garbage and lots of shells and other organic material from the ocean. And why is that? – Because the locals have a big pick-up event once a year with many people pitching in – or so I was told.

I might not be able to physically join Leilani Münter on her campaigns to support, for example, Racing Extinction, but like a ‘true Canadian’, I’ve created my own, little pitch-in routine. This is my Start-with-1-thing: When I walk my dog Kye on the beach, I pack a small bag for collecting shells – always bring one of those, you’ll need it! AND I bring another, bigger plastic bag (one of those shopping bags you accidentally ended up with for whatever reason) for collecting garbage. Then I take dog and dinghy to shore, we start our walk and I pick up as much garbage as would fit into that one bag. I’m only filling one bag per walk, because I’m mainly here for vacation and don’t have the goal to clean the whole beach in one go. Instead, it’s one walk at a time, and thus almost no effort and still quite enjoyable. While I’m busy with my pitch-in routine, Kye explores the dunes or takes a swim in the cool water.

Pitch-in 1Kye enjoys the cool, clear water

The benefits are fourfold:

  • I do squats to pick up the garbage = great leg exercise,
  • I carry the garbage = great arm exercise,
  • My dog Kye gets more time to romp around, because it takes me longer to finish the walk AND
  • the beach gets cleaner in the process

PLUS, I should probably add a fifth benefit: It makes me feel good! I feel like I’m giving back a little, giving back to this place that I enjoy so much.

Pitch in - 3Leaving the garbage for others to notice and start thinking…

At the end of the Eastern beach where the trail crosses over to the Elizabeth Harbour side, I drop my bag and enjoy the rest of the walk without the weight.

Now, I can hear you wonder why I’m not taking it all the way back to the boat, why I’m not properly disposing of it. I actually do have a reason: I want this to be a community effort. And I want to inspire other people to do the same. If all the garbage just magically disappeared, then nobody would ever notice. But people do notice collected garbage alongside the trail and it might just make them think.

Pitch in - 4It would be so easy to keep this beach pristine…

And lo and behold: When we returned to Stocking Island after a few days away, my garbage bags were actually gone! So, somebody else did make an effort as well!!!

Pitch in - 2…if everybody pitched-in a little.

Thank you! to whoever it was. We are clearly on the same wavelength and it is exhilarating to know there’s people like you out there.

THAT’s why we are crossing Canada in the summer to promote sustainable energy and transportation. To inspire others to start thinking and acting; because future generations need our voice and our actions NOW.

11 thoughts on “The Bahamas Pitch-In

  1. Good work Silke! That works so much for so many things and if everyone does their part a lot gets done! Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

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  2. Great thought-through strategy. I don’t have a lot of beaches to walk, but I will now carry a bag with me when geocaching (see http://geocaching.com) and grab any cans or litter during my walks through parks etc. But I think in my case I’ll drop it in the trash can at the park exit, they’re usually around.

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  3. Great Solution where everybody wins! Sometimes it doesn’t take much to change a thing for the better. Just a little change of routine! Great Job, Silke! 👍😀

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    • It’s actually quite hard to not try to take ALL the garbage. It’s always “just one more piece!” But I can’t carry it all…so it’s the next walk 😉

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  4. Ich muss mich doch sehr wundern über deinen Wandel zur Umweld-Freundin! Sehr lobenswert, wenn auch nur “ein Tropfen auf den heißen Stein”. Nur eins: bitte den Müll nicht wild entsorgen, das kann missverstanden werden! Damit wirst du die zuständige Kommune nicht veranlassen mehr für die Müllentsorgung zu tun. Eher bekommst du bei allen guten Absichten Probleme.
    Aber grundsätzlich ist deine Aktivität lobenswert.

    Erwin

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    • Nicht wirklich. Es war immer da, seitdem ich mit 18 Jahren beim Arbeitsamt nach einem Job im Umweltschutz gefragt habe, worauf ich leider die Antwort erhalten habe, “das ist ein Thema, da kann man sich drüber unterhalten, aber nicht drin arbeiten”. Leider, leider, habe ich das damals geglaubt… Seitdem war der Wunsch, etwas für die Umwelt zu tun immer da, aber halt nur latent und in sehr kleinem Ausmass ersichtlich. Hauptsächlich weil ich den Glauben verloren hatte, dass eine Person einen Unterschied machen kann. Diesen Glauben hat mir Elon Musk zurückgegeben, denn er ist das beste Beispiel, dass eine Person sehr wohl einen Unterschied machen kann. Somit kein wirklicher Wandel, sondern eher ein “back to the roots”.

      Und das mit dem Müll entsorgen hast Du falsch verstanden. Ich entsorge then Müll nicht wild. Ich lasse die Mülltüten da, wo andere sie sehen und ihren Teil beitragen können. Das hat bereits mehrfach geklappt. Daneben habe ich auch mehrfach Mülltüten auf unser Boot zurückgebracht, um sie mit unserem anderen Müll Bahamas-gemäß zu entsorgen. Und bevor wir George Town verlassen, werde ich sicherstellen, dass “mein” Müll komplett entsorgt ist. Also, alles im Lot 😉

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  5. Pingback: Four Awesome Things Happened… | Promoting Sustainable Energy

  6. I am staying on great now and no one will admit that tons of plastic is coming on shore… don’t know where it’s coming from, but in front of our resort (Hideaways PalmBay) there is small pieces of plastic all over the beach… and it’s not from the guests since very few are ever on the he beach anyways. I saw plastic hangars and peanut butter containers at Tropic of Cancer as well.

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    • And we’re right across at Monument Beach 😉 I’ve started collecting garbage again… I’m sure the garbage you find is not from hotel guests, it’s from all over. Some items must have accidentally fallen overboard or blown away by the wind, while others might have been thrown into rivers or into the ocean. Some people have the tendency to just drop their garbage wherever… That garbage then travels who knows how many (nautical) miles and ends up on theses shorelines. I’m sure some of it comes from as far as Europe or Africa. It’s pretty sad. And it’s shocking to see how much we depend on plastic, how much we use it and how much ends up as garbage – or in sea creatures’ stomachs or on beaches. That’s the reason why I collect it, so that it doesn’t kill any sea animals because they think it’s food…

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