On the day of the Coastal CleanUp, the student volunteers of DVGS piled out of white minivans, sporting summer camp Tshirts, Dragons sweatpants and work gloves. Joining us were the Ukiah High Spanish Club, local chaperones, and our beloved principal, Jin Jr Shr. Knowing that the summer weather could only last so long, we were determined to spend the day collaborating with our friends to clean up the environment. As school life often leaves students with little free time for relaxed socialization, many of us seized this opportunity to enhance our bonds with each other.
Due to the drought, the creek was dried up at the time of the event, and yet one could still imagine its allure, and envision the majestic rage of its flowing waters. Smooth limestones covered the steep valley bed of the creek, the different shapes making an abstract painting of jagged edges and lines. This scenery would have fit perfectly into an Amazonian paradise, saved for the accumulated litter in the valley. Shattered ceramic shards were scattered throughout the length of the river, no doubt washed away by the current. Soda cups from fast food places, beer bottles and caps were found littered around the banks. Broken glass, and even syringes could be found along the creek. Seeing its previously resplendent essence reduced by the presence of waste, our large group swiftly got to work, splitting up into groups of threes.
At midday, our chaperones stopped us for a break, using this time to educate us about locally endangered plants. They encouraged us to assist the animal population by growing and cultivating some of these essential plants in our gardens or front yards. One significant plant mentioned was the Milkweed, a prominent resource required in the reproduction of Monarch butterflies. We realized that we could actually impact the environment in a much bigger way. By the end of the event, most of us had almost collected a whole bag of litter. With the Californian blaze overhead, we walked back to the park exhausted, but proud. It was a day of satisfaction and fulfilled responsibilities to our Mother Earth.
After enjoying a delicious Thai wrap for lunch provided by the organizer, we headed back to the City of 10,000 Buddhas. Even though many of us faced a grim reality during the event, we were determined to be optimistic, holding contests for finding the most unusual object listed on the paper. We knew that there was no use in despairing, unless we continued to ignore the fragility of nature. Each person can make a difference, by taking responsibility in raising awareness about these events. Most importantly, we now know how important it is to clean up after ourselves, for each person’s waste is another pile added to the pollution of the environment.
Categories: Global Awareness