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A Little Inconvenience Is All It Takes

Updated: Feb 12, 2022

One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind, Neil Armstrong.

It was a great day to be at the beach. Many are out. Some, walking their fur babies, throw a football, having a barbecue with their families. I wish every day was just like this…

Photos from Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Every time I am at a beach or at a park, I always get overwhelmed by the beauty of nature… The color of the sky as the sun comes down, the smell of the plants when the wind gushes. The birds that hang by the tree and call. I wish it stays this way for us, forever.

When I was a young girl, I remember days when we would go and take a trip to the beach. We would bring with our food in pots, always told to be careful not to spill in the vehicle. We would bring with us plates, glasses, utensils, you name it! We brought ‘thermos’ containers of water, maybe a case or two of bottled coca-cola and those liter bottles of ‘magnolia’ orange juice. I realize, we always went back home with all the necessities we brought along and empty bottles we would take back to the store so we do not have to pay for the bottles the next time we purchase drinks. Hmm. We never took home any garbage. We didn’t have any!

Nowadays, every time we go to the beach, an essential would be a plastic garbage bag. After all, where do we put all the paper or plastic plates after we use them for lunch? Hey, we have to make sure we don’t leave any water bottles behind, we would not want to leave trash only to have it end up in the ocean, right? And don’t forget our canned drinks either and the plastic bags of chips or candies!

Soooooo much garbage to take home! Wait a minute! We use plastic cups and plastic plates and plastic spoons and forks and drink from plastic bottles. All in the name of convenience, right? Is it truly convenient if you have all that trash to contend with? To take home with you or dump in the public trash bin?

All it is is passing the inconvenience. Garbage collectors have to deal with it. The landfill has to deal with it. Rivers have to deal with it. Ocean has to deal with it. Soil has to deal with it. In the end, WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT.

We are all dealing with it right now, like it or not. Birds are dying from trash in their tummies, turtles, fish, all the same. Coral bleaching… violent weather systems…

We don’t have to make a huge gesture. We do not have to engineer a contraption that would pick up the trash in the Pacific garbage patch that is now 3 times bigger than France nor do we need to start creating a rainforest.

Our old ways are not WASTEful. Why don’t we go back to our old ways, ways our parents showed us. Yes, it may be a tad inconvenient. Maybe it is a heavier picnic basket, or sauce spilled here and there…maybe it’s having to wash all the dishes after a long, tiring day…. What is a little inconvenience if it means saving our planet?

We were all taught to put on your plate only what you can finish… to ‘turn off the light’ if you leave the room. Turn off the television if you are done watching. These small, simple, little things, if we just do them, just practice what our parents have taught us, in our own way, every day, we can help rebuild our environment. We can help Mother Nature heal. It really is just as easy as that… All it takes is one small step.

Photos during the 2019 beach cleanup at Camara Island, San Antonio, Zambales


About the Author

Actress and writer Charmaine Jao is also a diver and a sailor who has a deep love for the ocean. She is an advocate for the preservation and protection of natural habitats and traditional cultures and is a project coordinator of the Lighthouse Legacy Foundation.

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