MISS EARTH: BEACH CLEAN
It's been a while, right? Well, I missed you and I'm sorry. I've been busy falling in love with Los Angeles. I wouldn't have ever guessed it when I left, but LA really felt like a city I should be living in. I'm cautious about this 'cause it sounds suspiciously like those people who come up for air between trance parties to exclaim they were 'so born in the wrong decade'.
Actually, the spoiled nature of my deep regret for wasting my youth outside of a city that was so obviously made for me (in an opposites-attract romcom kind of way) became known to me a few days after I returned to Cape Town and attended my brother's girlfriend's squash tournament. Say that five times and who knows?
You might meet a handsome, consent-respecting, someone-someone.
Or not - but I like those odds for you, sister. Anyways, back to the painful self-reflective moment I was about to have.
After having driven up from Queenstown, a small town in my home province, the Eastern Cape, a woman glanced away wistfully and tsked, 'Living and working in Cape Town, so lucky!' when I told her that this was what I did. This sweet woman said that like I had just recounted an evening where I was Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris (2011). And of course, because I'm an asshole, I responded with 'Yeah it's nice, but I really want to live in LA.'
Like, 'Oh, yeah, whatever, but Zelda Fitzgerald was overrated and all the flappers really look the same after a while? Just a bit boring, I guess.' Hindsight is 20/20. That one's going to keep me cringing for years fo' sho'.
Right, well. Shall we shake that off and start the blog proper? I think so. Today's post is about the beach clean-up that I organised as part of my duties as a Miss Earth semi-finalist.
It was a wonderful day and I look forward to telling you all about it, but I first need to clear my throat and let you know that I'm no longer running for the title.
I withdrew mainly because all our projects were due to happen over much of the time I was in the States. It's a pity that it happened this way because I think the platform is great for young women who want a massive head start into community-building as a career.
That said, I have a few reservations, mainly in that the title 'Miss Earth' undermines the feminist movement to remove the marital-status-revealing title from women's lives (and all the connotations this title conjures), and that the rules of entry specify that contestants must be 'naturally born women'.
In other words, those who were deemed to be women at birth by medical system that recognises a strict, binary gender system - a disappointing rule in an organisation that otherwise tries to empower women by increasing their knowledge of our future's most pressing needs.
The stipulation of this rule seems to have left along with the entry mechanism to apply for Miss Earth. Fingers crossed that this sticks - it would certainly be more fitting to their forward-thinking ethos.
For now, I'm happy to share my part in the Miss Earth '16 journey, and everyone who made it so special.
So, after Grant and I passed out bags and gloves (and met the BEST dogs ever), we got to work on what would turn out to be an epic journey to rid Muizenberg beach of cigarette butts, ice cream packets, and ten million straws. I haven't been able to look at one the same since.
I don't think I have to explain why polluting the beach is a bad thing. I think we can all agree on the vague knowledge that sea + discarded plastic = nothing very good.
But aside from generalities - because these often give us leave to do nothing - pollution does the ocean a good deal of harm. Some highlights from this chipper United Nations Environment Programme's report include 'impacts on aesthetics and tourism, human health and safety', 'habitat destruction', and 'tremendous economic costs and losses to individuals and communities around the world'. And it's getting worse. So, not ideal, no.
And though it might seem like there's not much that one itty, bittylittle beach clean could do much to help, your presence at the beach does a number of great things.
One, it means a few dozen or so fewer cigarette butts that may otherwise have found their way into the throats of marine life, two, you're making it cool to prioritise the environment (good on you!), and three, it makes everyone on the beach that day less inclined to throw their crap everywhere but the bin.
Admittedly the last of these betray an impulse that many indulge the second you turn your back, but it's still something.
When the clean was up, we all joined in for a groovy yoga session by Ru from Yo Yoga, a super-sweet and uber-talented young yogi. When we finished our savasahna, prizes were handed out to everyone who committed to picking up trash that very cold Sunday morning - and what prizes they were.
Our sponsors were kick-ass! Lulu & Marula, Skin Creamery, and SKOON. represented from the natural beauty squad, and vouchers were provided by Yo Yoga, the place that's gotten me closest to a bubble butt that I will ever be. Thank you all so much - you rock!
That's it, folks. We laughed, we froze, we dry heaved, and before we knew it, the clean-up was over. I'm hoping to make the beach cleans a staple through Toofufu, including them in our HTHS hikes, complete with a free yoga session. Watch this space, lovelies!