Once I pulled into the Ocean Beach, San Francisco parking lot, and breathed in the beautiful fresh ocean air, I knew I was back home. The concept of “home” is in question right now as I am looking for a place to live in the oh so popular San Francisco. But for me, nature is home and I can’t stay away for long. The way I look at it, humanity are mere visitors, renting space for the time being. If it were not for nature, its bounty and wonderfully fresh air, humanity wouldn’t even exist.
So why is it that humanity chooses to self-destruct and mirror the destruction outward in so many ways? An example of self-destruction, is smoking. And to make matters worse, many smokers litter their cigarette butts in nature, harming wildlife and the ecosystem. An estimated three billion pounds of cigarette butts are littered in the San Francisco Bay Area each year according to Save The Bay. If smokers are going to choose self-destruction, then the least they could do is not cause destruction for everyone else including wildlife by throwing butts on the ground.
Of course humanity has been smoking since time began, but with the invention of carefully crafted cigarettes that include plastics, foam and toxic chemicals over the last century, it has wreaked havoc on earth’s fragile ecosystem. Phys.org reports, “Cigarette butts turn out to be a double-barreled problem: the 4,800 chemical compounds in cigarettes, at least 69 of which are carcinogenic, plus plastic filters that contain dangerous compounds, too, and aren’t biodegradable.” San Diego State University conducted an intensive study on cigarette butts and marine and fresh water fish and concluded that the butts are toxic to sea life. Since cigarette butt littering has been so detrimental to the San Francisco Bay estuary, nonprofit, Save The Bay has led a campaign to ban outdoor smoking altogether. With that said, smokers cannot continue to be careless by throwing butts on the ground anymore.
So if you are a smoker, please take the time to dispose your cigarette butt properly – put it out well and place it in a trash bin (then of course, it is adding to landfill waste). Better yet, just stop smoking… you have a planet that gives you life – show your Self respect, as well as Earth.
The ocean is such a wonderfully healing tool to calm the nerves for so many. So from my perspective, smoking is undeniably unnecessary for relaxation. All the tools in the world are given by nature for us humans to live healthy on all levels, but humanity seems to get complicated about things and choose destruction over doing what is right for Self and what is right for the planet. It really is not sustainable anymore.
As far as my beach cleanup excursion today… I picked up 140 butts within an hour at Ocean Beach San Francisco. I do not know whether to be happy about the accomplishment or completely depressed. Yes, I put a microscopic dent into protecting the environment but the truth is, way more butts will be littered on the beach by tomorrow. All I can hope for is that a smoker will read this and choose breathing clean fresh air at home on Planet Earth instead of smoking. Nature is here to love you, love it back.
Feel free to leave comments and check out this awesome video on how a company created solutions for cigarette butt litter disposal and recycling into products – yes, recycled cigarette butts!