For one of the first times on this voyage, we have left the beaches and coastlines in order to chat to schools far inland. A fellow cruiser, Charlie McKenzie, generously invited us to Grass Valley and Nevada City – beautiful twin towns tucked into the foothills of the incredible Sierra Mountains in Southern California. Charlie wanted us to chat to his kids about plastics and we jumped at the idea since it gave us the opportunity to spread our message inland.
One of the concerns raised time and time again all over the world was the effect of rivers and inland cities on coastal pollution. As a generality, coastal inhabitants and coastal communities have been reasonably aware of some of the plastic issues we have raised. Some of them work hard to clean their beaches and work on reduction techniques, but their beaches are continually inundated with more and more refuse from rivers and streams. As we all know, rivers can run for thousands of kilometers and their watersheds cover… well… most of every continent. They sweep everything downstream, eventually dumping it all in the ocean. So if the message of reduction does not reach beyond the coastal communities and into the land-locked centers of each continent very little will change.
While Grass Valley and Nevada City are far from major metropolitan areas and they do seem to be far more “switched on” than others, the message of plastics in still the same. We need to use less, reuse what we do use and recycle all that is left. Tomorrow we will be chatting to three different groups of students and are excited to see how the reaction differs from coastal cities.
So Happy Memorial Day to all the Americans out there; We have been completely stuffed with delicious food by the McKenzies, walked around in the forests, played with their goats and enjoyed air free of salt and seaweed!