"If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up!"
- Pete Seeger, in YES! Magazine

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Shards of Glass

The project:
Collecting glass along a lake shore.

20 minutes

Why bother?
During our weekend camping trip to San Antonio Lake we found wonderful weather, warm water and a shoreline littered with glass bottles. Along fewer than 100 yards of the 64-mile shoreline we picked up more than 50 bottles, most of them vessels of alcoholic beverages. (The only exception was the club soda bottle.) With each pass along this stretch, we found more, then again more. It was as if the sand was breeding glass bottles, already filled and drained and some then coated with algae. Were we to comb the entire shoreline, might we be able to fund our weekend camping trip? If we snorkeled the lake bed, would we be able to fund a new vehicle with our recyclable take?

Worth it?
The girls are thrilled that they'll fatten their wallets and savings accounts, however small the increment, when we head to the recycling center Monday. We were all glad to leave the beach better than we found it. Still, I wonder about people.

On our way down to the lake the morning we left I found two more bottles. I placed them on the dock so I could pick them up on our walk back to camp. When I returned to the dock, the bottles had been placed in the water to float away. A man and a teenage boy were walking away, carrying a kayak to their pickup truck.

When you pick up after others, don't you wonder, "IS IT REALLY THAT DIFFICULT TO CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELVES?" When you pick up after others, do you ever feel like it's just not making any difference?

I guess I'm beginning to feel that way.


  1. Whenever I get the 'small-deed-in-a-big-world' feeling of helplessness, I always refer back to a quote I found a few months ago:
    "Do what you can, for who you can, with what you have, and where you are."
    Even little things make a difference to SOMEONE. Keep your focus on the ripple-effect of your site and your infulence. I'm sure that you're making a MUCH larger impact than you think.
    Chin-up Cuz :)

  2. Thank you for the encouragement, Kristi! :)


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