I Speak For the Sea
All my life, I’ve lived less than a 15 minute drive from the beach. Countless summer days spent sprawled in the sand with a good book or paddling languidly through the water just off the Long Beach Peninsula are ingrained in my memory as an essential part of my childhood. I spent my last birthday in Huntington Beach, shopping and soaking up the sun before heading back to my city’s shore with a friend for a tranquil evening picnic at the bay and thoughtful, friendly conversation in lawn chairs at the beach, our speech joined amicably by waves crashing gently on the sand.
I am sixteen now, and long runs by the water with my loud and chaotic cross-country team have added to my collection of regular seaside activities. The ocean is part of this city and a major part of what I’ve come to believe in. Vast, beautiful, and powerful, the sea has provided us with trade, food, and exploration for thousands of years, sustaining us through generations.
In his beloved children’s book The Lorax, Dr. Seuss wrote, “I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.” I do much the same for the ocean, considering that the sea, too, lacks a device through which to speak and be heard. I fight to protect what I know can only be saved by those who are passionate enough to come forth and speak for a part of nature which cannot speak for itself. As a people, we are desecrating the only planet we have. I belong to the ocean as much as it belongs to us, and I refuse to accept the disrespect we’ve shown our world. Industrialization and consumer culture have sickened the ocean, sickening the hearts of all who care for this planet as I do. Plastic is completely man-made, indigestible waste, useful for five minutes and doomed to spend the next five hundred years tossing and turning in the water or otherwise trapped in a faraway landfill, breaking into smaller and smaller pieces with time while adamantly refusing to decompose. Plastic pollution comes with consequences. This is the world we’ve created.
This is the cost, and it isn’t one worth paying.