Another Coastal Cleanup is in the books. After trying the hike in to Portage North on Friday (and failing miserably, falling multiple times on a slick, rain-drenched hillside, beating a trail through downed trees and Devil’s club for about an hour before seeing the error of my ways), I changed Saturday’s destination to Cape B. Still a workout, still layered in difficulty and burliness, but less likely to kill, either myself or the folks I had with me.
A great group from Youth Environmental Stewards (YES), out of Port Townsend… worked hard and moved a crapload of plastic (technical term), up off the beach, up 600 steps of slippery ladders and off-camber walkways positioned precariously in the temperate jungle. It seems somehow odd, and completely reassuring, that these kids and the adults they brought along with them are willing and capable of such labor and thought. I was happy and honored to go along with them.
At some point on the load-out it occurred to me that this shouldn’t be this way at all. It shouldn’t be so easy to litter the beach and so hard to clean it up. Can you imagine if it wasn’t? If it took as much effort to make a mess as it does to clean it? When I think of the level of oomph that the team I was with put out, and then I multiply it by the hundred, thousands, of others who were out on their own stretches of waterfront, I can’t help but think that it isn’t even close to fair.