Service Learning in Santa Cruz, California!!

Every semester there is that one project that a student works on that makes me just a tad envious. This is certainly the one! Nicole worked with Monterey Bay's Save our Shores Organization for her service learning project. From Nicole: "Imagine this: a picturesque Monterey Bay, encircled by rocky shores, sea cliffs, golden wave-swept beaches…and wait, what is that in the strandline among the sea kelp? that a shoe? Yes, it is a washed up shoe along with thousands of pieces of plastic and styrofoam, micro plastic, straws, cigarette butts, shoes, and candy wrappers scattered the shore like footprints in the sand. Only they aren’t the footprints left by a nice relaxing walk on the beach. Rather, these are sad footprints of anthropogenic degradation and garbage. I expected to be surprised by this service learning experience but I did not expect to be so moved by the condition of the environment, after all, it is hard to imagine that any garbage would be found in such a serene landscape, but I saw firsthand the how the disposables of our convenient everyday living are devastating the ocean habitat."

And my favorite part of Nicole's journal: "In closing, because of this environmental service learning project, I observed for myself the amount of trash that ends up on our beaches, whether it washed up on shore or it was left there by beach goers we have treated the ocean as an endless resource and a bottomless waste receptacle and I am affected for life. I know that every time you can reduce the amount of paper you use, you are not only saving trees, but also you are not contributing to the endemic American trash pile that ends up in the ocean. In business I can use this experience to support my argument to be a paperless company. Second, in my line of work, as in many others, we keep bottled water on hand to offer waiting clients as a kind gesture. My company even has bottled water with personalized company labels. But I will absolutely suggest investing in a water cooler or pitcher with glass or biodegradable cups in effort to cut down on garbage as well as wasted water (that too is important). The third business lesson I can take away from my Save Our Shores experience is that in addition to the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle, you must refuse! Refuse plastic straws, refuse non degradable products, refuse disposable plastic bags and bottles as many of them end up in the ocean and on our beaches." 


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