You know the saying “out of sight out of mind”? Today’s revelation for me was that trash is the other way around.
Let me elaborate: today we did a beach clean here in hot, sunny Chaguaramas, Trinidad. When we got started it didn’t seem so bad, but once we got going I realized it was EVERYWHERE. In less than an hour we had collected almost 2000 items, in an area less than 300m long.

For me personally, I had to acknowledged that it has simply become such a normal part of my world that I no longer notice it. And that terrifies me.

I’m aware we are engineered to function like this. We have a limited capacity to process information, and the brain stops putting focus on things that are commonplace and pose no danger. Except in this case that isn’t true. We are drowning in trash, but it is happening just slow enough so that we aren’t noticing.

But today also showed me that there is a will to change that. With only two days notice over thirty people showed up to help us. Old hands telling me how this helps rekindle their passion for what they do, young kids trying it out for the first time, and a lot of inspiring young people looking to be part of the change. And that is the way to do it, to purposefully shift the focus onto the issue, and offer sustainable alternatives, until they in turn become so commonplace we stop noticing. I’ll be the first to admit that it is very difficult to live plastic free in today’s world, but try to live by the mantra: a little bit is better than nothing at all. If you and I make choices that limit the amount of plastic we use, maybe when my daughter is all grown up, no plastic will be the new normal. I have to believe that is possible, after all, there is no Planet B.

As I write this it is about 8 hours since eXXpedition Caribbean kicked off, and if these eight hours are any indication, sharing this journey with these women is going to be an amazing experience. An experience I now realize I need in order to remember that the reason I originally chose to do what I do is, in fact, still a part of who I am. In that sense I am like everyone taking part of today’s efforts. I am the old hand who needs to remember my passion, the first timer, curious and excited, and I am, most definitely, looking to be part of the change.

Jannica Haldin – eXXpedition Caribbean 2016 Crew


Trinidad and Tobago is getting international help in the beach clean-up effort. Emily Penn, an Ocean Advocate, is in Trinidad with a team of scientists, journalists and other professionals. As part of their research, they, together with locals, engaged in a beach clean-up in Chaguaramas. Ian Wason has more.

Posted by TTT Live Online on Saturday, 20 February 2016