Today is Earth Day, and while we will all be extra conscious today about being good to the earth, ask yourself: What can we do the rest of the year? Earth Day is a great marketing opportunity, but it's really the lifestyle changes that we make on a daily basis that will make a positive impact.
While participating in a beach cleanup with Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii on Saturday, the thought occurred to me that we all should be doing this every time we go to the beach, rather than as part of an organized cleanup. Note to self: Get out to the beach more often.
After scouring the coastline, we found mostly cigarette butts, but also picked up pieces of rope, some plastic debris, some carnations that could biodegrade but didn't really belong on the beach — and nestled in the naupaka bushes, a whole hibachi grill top and a couple of beer bottles.
Picking up cigarette butts was the biggest pain, to be honest. They're usually buried in the sand, and can be big or small — but it's particularly gross to think that it was in someone's mouth, even more off-putting to see someone's lipstick rimmed around the remaining butt.
The beach is not a giant sand tray, and those butts contain plastic and chemicals that shouldn't be leaching into the sand, nor our oceans. It's about time that we passed a law banning smoking at East Honolulu beach parks (including Kuhio, Kapiolani, Ala Moana and Sandy). Let's hope they get to enforcing it soon.
While today was Earth Day, there are more events this month:
>> 3 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24 at the Hawaii State Capitol Auditorium: Dr. Axel Timmerman, professor of Physical Oceanography at the University of Hawaii, presents "Fifteen Frequently Asked Questions on Climate Change." Talk is followed by a screening of "The Island President" (directed by John Shenk) from 4 to 5:30 p.m. The documentary film tells the story of President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, which is faced with the threat of sea level rise, making its isles uninhabitable.
>> 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 27: Manoa Public Library holds a "recycled reads" book sale including books, CDs and DVDs. All proceeds benefit the Manoa Library.
>> 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, April 29 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Architecture auditorium. Dr. Magnus Engwall, professor of ecotoxicology at Orebro University in Sweden, discusses his research on persistent organic pollutants and what he has found on plastic marine debris from Hawaii's beaches. His lecture is titled: "Assessing the toxicity of plastic marine debris & harm to marine life." Free. Visit www.b-e-a-c-h.org/lectureseries.html