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When being a Trash Hero is heroic

When I end up talking to people about Trash Hero and beach cleanup and things, a lot of the times I get the same question: “But isn’t it discouraging? Picking so much trash week after week and it doesn’t get any better? Seeing people using so many bags, straws, wrappings, everywhere and all the time?”

I have realized recently that this is the "heroic" part of doing this. It is not actually simply doing it, organising a cleanup, promoting it, putting together a bottle project, taking time to do all these things. What is hard is to keep going.

Because yes, there are days when after picking the 328th plastic straw from the beach, you want to cry, or insult people. There are days when people thank you for what you are doing and you know that the minute you turn your back they will keep throwing their trash behind their shoulder like they did yesterday.

Maybe you remember this post when I was letting out the frustration, that got me quite some strong comments at the time. One of them was something along the line of: “well I have been doing what I can for the last 10 years, cutting down rubbish, recycling, eating less meat, saving energy, yet everything is getting worse. So why should I keep doing it?”. And in all honesty, I can see that point.

Some days I see it oh too well.

So why do I keep doing it?

First, because I believe now that there is no salvation but in the action. We can keep crying about the damage done or we can try to do something about it. It is the water drop principle. I create a drop, someone else does the same, and then we fill a glass, a bucket, a tank, a river.

Like everything else that is fucked up on the planet today, I feel that solutions will come from the people and not from the top. Like this kid trying to clean the oceans. Like these people turning trash into stuff. Like people fighting for human rights. Like all these people I meet that are trying to change the world, one day at the time, one thing at the time.

Second, because of the people. When you get involved into anything that you care about, you meet other people that care about the same thing. Some you would never meet otherwise. Some of them so involved and passionate that they have this fire burning inside them and it’s contagious and they fuel your inner fire and you want to keep going. Some of them will never be your friends but you share something anyway. Some of them you wonder where they have been the rest of your life because you connect so much with them.

There is beauty in finding something that bring people together and make them join forces despite their differences.

Most days, I keep going despite the fact that I feel we are doomed.

But sometimes, thanks to these people, I get a glimpse of light and I feel maybe we aren’t.

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