In the fall of last year, I had just moved to the Okanagan and was looking for a unique way to meet new people. I wanted to do my part. I wanted to participate in something that would fill my heart- something that was important. Something that would make a difference. My friend Bob Purdy had been in touch with Justin Riney of Florida, who out of his foundation “Mother Ocean” had just started a satellite project called “Ocean Hour”. He’d been out training for his paddle around the entire state of Florida (!!!) and having encountered enormous amounts of trash, he decided to do something about it, so he started “Ocean Hour”. “Ocean Hour” is every saturday between 9 and 10 am, on your own local waterway, wherever you are on this beautiful planet.
We remove trash from the beaches and from the water and we have a great time doing it! There are a number of groups participating around the world regularly, including in Taiwan, Florida, New Jersey, Hawaii and now Canada. Our chapter of “Ocean Hour” began in Kelowna at Bob’s urging and has seen interest growing in the surrounding communities of West Kelowna, Peachland, Penticton, and a bit further away, to Vancouver and the East Kootenays. The idea is to eventually have groups participating all across this great country, cleaning up their own local beach, stream, river or lakeshore and then passing the pictures along to us at https://www.facebook.com/oceanhourcanada Social media is powerful and we utilize it to share what we find, to recognize people for their efforts, and of course, to spread the word.
When I tell people about “Ocean Hour”, aside from the fact that we’re doing something important, one of the things I like to underscore is that it’s really fun! It truly is! We get out in the wild. We explore. We see places that other people don’t. We get fresh air. We get to enjoy the sun. We get exercise. There’s a sense of satisfaction in cleaning up a beach. It betters you.
Once you start focusing on finding trash, it becomes sort of meditative and when the birds are singing and the waves are lapping at the shore, there is no more relaxing way to start the day! This one good deed feels great and it becomes a spring board that catapults you to a new awareness.
It starts to shape your life and the things you care about. When you really notice how much garbage is out there, you find yourself looking at things differently. You become more aware of how much garbage you yourself generate. You will likely be more conscientious when you go shopping, perhaps thinking twice about buying tomatoes with plastic wrapping on them. You might reject the plastic bags offered to carry your goodies home. You might just go out and get yourself a recycling bin. You’ll feel good about all of this!
“Ocean Hour” will inevitably be about more than picking up garbage for one hour a week. I encourage everyone to come out, lead by example and see where it in turn leads you! It’s especially important to educate our children about trash as well. They’re the future stewards of the environment and they deserve to grow up on a safe, clean planet earth. Their children deserve it too. If we all work together, that one hour a week makes a huge difference. One hour in which you set an example for future generations. One hour in which to share in something that’s good for the planet. One hour in which to give back a little of your own energy to this planet that gives us so much.
Thank you for your interest! We hope to see you out at a cleanup soon!
Amanda Lounsbury Ambassador Ocean Hour: Canada