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.
Kye 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.
Leaving 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.
It 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!!!
…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.