Harry HanMr. IpEnglish 12 January 21, 2018Assignment 3.1: Personal or Narrative EssayAs soon as my alarm clock went off, I wake up in my bed, turn to my bedside table, made in Sweden, and switch on my lamp from Holland, containing a compact fluorescent light bulb, made in Waterbury, Connecticut. I look at the displayed date on my clock, and excitedly remember my plans for today. Today is my excursion to the beautiful beaches of Monterey Bay.After rubbing my eyes, I head straight to the washroom. I open the shower tap and turn it all the way to the left, as I prefer a cool, refreshing shower over a hot one. Then, I dry my hair and prepare my bag for a day at the beach with friends. I grab my eco-friendly 50 SPF ThinkSport sunscreen, made in the USA, as the chemical residue of many normal sunscreens can be harmful to the ocean. I quickly throw my 100% organic cotton towel into the bag and remember that I should probably bring my swim trunks, too. I slip on my comfortable leather sandals which I prefer over cheaply made flip flops, and head to the kitchen. I make some sandwiches and put them in a reusable lunch container instead of a plastic bag so that I’m not being wasteful of money and resources. Before, I walk out the front door, I double check that I’ve turned off the lights in my room. My parents would be angry with me if I didn’t. Rather than using a car, I call my friend, Barney, as we made plans to carpool to the beach together. He tells me that he’ll be there in 5 minutes, “Look for a silver Chevy Volt!”, he says. When Barney’s car silently and swiftly pulls up to my driveway, I hop in the passenger seat. “Wow, I can barely hear the engine on this thing!” I tell him. He explains to me that it’s an electric car, so it doesn’t actually have an engine, but instead an electric motor, and now I’m even more excited for the trip to the beach. As we glide along the streets through the mountains of Northern California, I notice how smooth an engine-less car feels. I look out the window at all the colossal Redwoods as we drive through the Santa Cruz mountains and am overwhelmed by the vastness of wildlife and beauty that surrounds me. I take a moment to be grateful for those who actively strive to protect places like these, the conservationists and wildlife sanctuaries that allow us to be a part of this monumental landscape.As we near sea level, with the mountains behind us slowly turning into sparsely vegetated rolling hills, I spot something I didn’t expect to see here. Amongst the sandy banks leading to the beach we’ve decided to visit, I notice a pair of empty beer bottles just lying there. Confused, I ask, “Aren’t we just a few miles from Monterey?”, to which my friend nods. “Huh,” I think to myself. “Couldn’t they just dispose of those on their way back, if they were able to bring it here somehow in the first place?”. I shake the frustration off as we drive closer to the beach. My slight annoyance quickly grows into full-fledged shock as we near the shores. Scattered all over the secluded beach are plastic bags, broken bottles, food wrappers, burnt out cigarettes, and an endless sea of bottle caps. I feel like I’m staring at a war-torn battleground. “What kind of monster would do this?” I think to myself. I look over to Barney and can see from his expression that this sight bothers him, but he doesn’t mention the complete disarray of the landscape. How can he not feel affected by this gruesome act of destruction? At this point, I don’t even know what to think. Is this normal for some people? I take another look at my friend as he sets down a large beach towel amongst the litter. “So, are we gonna do anything about this?” I gesture towards the piles of garbage encroaching on the shores. Barney looks up from the waves he was gazing at. “Hm?” He blinks. I sigh. “This isn’t acceptable.” I state. Now, I’m not the first guy that comes to mind when people think about helping out the environment, but there is no way I’d let this amazing landscape continue to be devastated by careless people. I convince Barney to help me, as he can tell that this place would be much more enjoyable without all this disorder. We spend around 2 and a half hours cleaning up the beach, although it messes up the cloth bags that we initially brought for our supplies. It wasn’t enjoyable, it was actually a lot of work. But it brought a clear image to my mind, that if people cared about their surroundings in nature as much as they cared about their personal life, the world would be a much healthier and much more scenic place, much like the breathtaking redwood forest we passed just minutes before. During the drive home, I could tell Barney wasn’t exactly glad that we spent most of our time at the beach visit cleaning up someone else’s mess, but I did recognize that he felt proud of what he did for the environment, and I did too. We’ve all seen images of seagulls with plastic lodged in their feathers, that sea life is consuming the plastic and clutter that we leave around the shores, and that there are entire island-like masses of garbage just floating through the ocean’s currents, but most people don’t do much to change it. And whether it’s a trip to the beach, or to a park, helping to clean up our planet is worth a lot more than we think.
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