On October 26th 2019 I participated in a beach cleanup organized by the Surfrider foundation. The foundation organizes hundreds of cleanup events across the country. They advocate for coastal cleanup and protecting our beaches. They have clubs and organizations all over America. The Ventura County Surf Rider Chapter was formed in the early 1990’s from fear of the damage being done to point Mugu by coastal armoring. They organize monthly coastal cleanups throughout the county.
My girlfriend Mona and I took a few hours out of our Saturday and joined with the Surfrider foundation to clean up Surfer’s Point. Dozens of residents of Ventura County came early in the morning to protect one of our most important and beautiful places. Kids as young as five years old and senior citizens in their 70’s banded together to clean up the Ventura beach. The whole community came together to maintain and protect what we all loved, our beach.
We were expecting to find a beach covered in trash and litter, but the Ventura Beach was already very well maintained. We walked all across the beach but only came across a handful of garbage, cigarette butts, and bear bottles and cans. Most of our buckets were light and bare as we searched for refuse. Neither Mona nor I felt like we had done much to protect our beach, but as we walked back to the Surfrider tent, somewhat dejected, we were stopped by a small group of people coming from the beach. They thanked us for helping maintain and protect the beach. They themselves had participated in cleanups and environmental protests in the 1960’s. We told them we felt that we hadn’t done as much as we could have done, but they reassured us that the important thing is that we came and that we did our part. That even though we picked up only a handful of garbage that was what every volunteer did, and that with dozens of volunteers, that handful became buckets and buckets. This was how we protect our beaches, by coming together as a community and working to maintain our beach. This renewed our spirits and made us proud to participate.