Petting a Gray Whale and Calf

Sometimes when I see pictures like this I get really depressed.

Beached Whale Full of TrashAs both a sailor, scuba diver and bicyclist, I “see” a lot of the world. When you are on a bike cycling down a road or sailing into port, you are able to see trash and garbage along the road or washed ashore around a dock. The changes I have personally seen as a diver in the last 20 years are terrible. Everything from plastic chairs in a coral reef to a dead reef itself. One of the eeriest things I ever saw were plates and forks half covered with sand. Please note this is not a real whale, but there are whales that wash ashore which are full of plastic.

Underwater Garbage PileOne of the finest days of my life was spent off the Mexico coast with Momma Gray Whale and her calf. The photo above is me petting the baby whale the mother had pushed up to our boat. Yet to know our garbage is killing whales is sad and to me seems to be overwhelming, how could I, as one single human make a difference? Well the answer is the same as always, by single actions.
There is an old story about a young boy who was walking down a beach after a storm. The beach was covered with starfish that had been washed ashore. The boy picked up on starfish and gently tossed it back into the sea. A man watched the boy, approached him and said, “Son, there are thousands of starfish on this beach and the tide is going out. You will never be able to make a difference.” The young boy nodded to the man and bent, picked up another starfish and tossed it back into the water. He looked at the man and said, “I just did to that one”.
Boise Idaho has a lovely river which runs thru the center of it. Boise with all its hype about being a terrific place to live and a very outdoorsy place, has a lot of trash the litters the banks of this river. This morning I walked the banks of the river for a few hours and picked up garbage. Every time I placed a blown-out flip flop or plastic bottle in my garbage bag I told myself, “one less piece to flow into the ocean”. So to me, I feel as though I cannot change the huge issues like the USA not following the Paris Climate Change Accord or something like that, but I can make a difference on this river, to this starfish.


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