A Personal Reflection for Earth Day

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Filament.io 0 Flares ×
AU-FT-April-2014-Reflection-on-Earth-Day

I spent the spring and summer after earning my Bachelor’s degree travelling through rural Mexico. While I enjoyed bussing along the beautiful and desolate Pacific coast, it wasn’t until I’d found the small town of La Ticla that I knew my trip would be worth it. I settled into the town and spent months living in a small thatched hut. I surfed, lived simply, and made friends with locals and other surfers passing through.

One morning, I started walking north on the beach. My eyes on the water, I didn’t see what lay ahead of me until I kicked the first plastic bottle. I looked up into a plastic nightmare. Trash covered the beach for a hundred yards in front of me. Broken toys, discarded laundry detergent bottles, car parts, cigarette butts, caps and lids, all were strewn over every inch of sand.

I ran back to the camp that had become my home and told the other campers what I’d seen. We walked out together, our small community of travelers, to the broken stretch of beach. The sun rose quick, and its already hot rays burned down onto the plastic shore. The others watched, mouths agape as gulls flew in, picked small bits of bright plastic up in their beaks, then disappeared down the coast.

“We have to do something,” one of the campers said.

“Yes,” I said. “Yes we do.”

We walked over to one of the three neighboring restaurants and asked for plastic bags. Armed with a box of large black trash bags, we went to work, collecting trash up and down the quarter mile stretch of beach. I packed a plastic bag and carried it a quarter mile down the beach back to the edge of town, then another, then another. The morning stretched on, sun gleaming down hot against the nearly melted waste. Bag after bag had left our arms weary, and the black plastic of the full bags dug into our backs whenever we’d haul another load down the beach.

After an hour we were covered in plastic-smelling sweat. After two hours we were dragging the bags to town, bodies too beat to lift anymore. After three hours we sat in the sand, looking out over the waste. One of the campers shook his head. “It looks like we haven’t done anything.”

“We’ve done something.” I said.

I turned and looked at the garbage. It stretched on for what seemed like forever, covering what yesterday had been sand and rock. My legs were cramping and a cut in my side left from a sharp angle of plastic stung with sweat. To my left was the toil of hauling hot and endless garbage, to my right lay the respite of shade and hydration. I reached down and picked up a plastic water bottle. I wondered where it came from, whose thirst its contents had quenched before it had been discarded, then set adrift. I tossed the cracked and empty bottle back into the field of garbage as another gull swooped in to survey the trash. It scoured the ground for a moment, then grabbed a discarded piece of plastic in its beak, and flew off into the hot blue morning.

I’m sharing this story from the time I spent in Mexico, not to dwell on the past, but to encourage and inspire our community. Many small actions damaged the place I called home. But a few big actions can restore and support our environment. This year, Earth Day is Tuesday, April 22. For more information about Earth Day 2014, and for ways you can get involved, check out the Earth Day Network.

Written by: Samuel Harvey
Sam is the Content Specialist for the Office of Student Access and Wellness at Ashford University.

Popular Posts

  • Top 7 Reasons Why You Should Pursue Your MBA If you’re a college graduate, returning to school for your Master of Business Administration (MBA) might not appeal to you. After all, you’ve already spent four years on your Bachelor’s degree. W. . . November 24, 2014
  • Best Courses to Become More Marketable Most universities are composed of typical colleges such as the College of Health Care Studies, Business, Education, and Liberal Arts. Within these colleges are various majors a student can choose, b. . . September 17, 2013
  • 5 Tips for Transferring Credits One of the best ways to accelerate your graduation day is to transfer credits. But many students find the transfer process very long and complicated. It doesn’t have to be so scary. Here are five ea. . . November 14, 2013
  • Explore Exciting Jobs in Healthcare You love to help people. You are interested in the science of the human body. And you believe in the value of a healthy lifestyle. If these traits describe you, then you ought to consider a career i. . . March 12, 2014
  • Business School Accreditation — What’s the Difference? When searching for a business school, you may notice that some business programs are accredited by different organizations with acronyms like AACSB, IACBE, and ACBSP. It’s easy to get lost in an alpha. . . May 23, 2014
  • Words of Advice for Graduates One of my favorite times of the year is commencement. I always enjoy seeing students walk across the stage to celebrate their achievement. When students get close to graduation, you can sense their en. . . March 10, 2014
  • 5 Great Education Documentaries The documentary is an underrated genre in the film industry, often described as one for those who are so “crazy” about a topic, they have to make a film about it. However, some of these “crazy” peop. . . July 12, 2013
  • Choose a Relevant Degree Business, English, Law – these are perennial subjects for degree programs, and they’ve stood the test of time. When students enroll in these programs, they already have some idea of what they’ll stu. . . February 5, 2014
  • The Five Toughest Interview Questions Job interviews are nerve wracking for just about anyone, whether you are a seasoned professional or a recent college graduate. The key to calming those nerves is preparation and practice. Prepare for . . . August 30, 2013
  • Advanced Degrees: Which Fields Provide the Highest Paying Jobs? Every spring it’s in the news: colleges are raising tuition. Higher tuition means students will be carrying a larger debt into the workforce, which cuts into their income. Choosing the right field o. . . September 9, 2013
  • Emotional Intelligence Research and Real World Application The definition of emotional intelligence is, “The ability to perceive, integrate, understand and reflectively manage one’s own feelings and other people’s feelings” (Salovey, […]August 26, 2015
  • Diversity Is More Than a Buzzword Having emerged as a central theme for society, business, and higher education, the word ‘diversity’ might invoke a picture of men and women […]July 1, 2015
  • LGBT Pride Month June is National LGBT Pride Month, a time to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. This month, we spoke with Richard […]June 12, 2015
  • National Mental Health Awareness Month May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, a time when we recognize how mental health impacts our families, our communities, and ourselves. While […]May 12, 2015
  • Celebrate Earth Day Ashford University is proud to call San Diego home, and one of the ways that we give back to our community is by […]April 3, 2015
  • Discussing Intimate Partner Violence This month the Promoting Access and Wellness in Students (PAWS) feature is on an issue that has recently garnered national attention, intimate partner […]March 5, 2015
  • Ebola: An epidemiologist’s experience in Sierra Leone Most of us have seen the news and understand the devastation that has come from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. But, one […]February 25, 2015
  • Unique Business Leaders When you think of a successful business owner, you might imagine a serious person who dresses professionally every day, but that doesn’t have […]February 12, 2015
  • Black History Month – Promoting Access and Wellness in Students February is Black History Month, and the monthly feature of Promoting Access and Wellness in Students (PAWS) is the video below that features […]February 10, 2015
  • New Year = New You The New Year marks a time of change, a time when we can make a fresh start, a time when we might step […]January 5, 2015
Tags: , ,

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...