There's beach tidying, where you roll up your towels and return your empty chip bags to your backpack and stow your umbrella and glance around the sandy space you've occupied for any stray bottle caps or cups, and then there's California Coastal Cleanup Day. which is tidying up on the grandest and deepest level.
What do we mean by "grandest and deepest level"? Picture the pound or so of trash you haul out after a day by the waves and multiply that by about 750,000, give or take. That's how much garbage thousands of volunteers regularly pick up during the late summer effort.
And we're not messing around on the "thousands" part, either: "(O)ver 58,000 volunteers" joined the one-day push in 2013, making California Coastal Cleanup Day one of the largest lend-a-hand happenings around. (As part of International Coastal Cleanup, it is, in fact, "the largest volunteer event on the planet!")
Date: Saturday, Sept. 20. Place? Where there's shoreline, which means our beaches, yes, but other "lakes and waterways." The drought persists but we can still tend to our interior ponds and rivers by keeping them spiffy and free of tires and plastics and the detritus of our daily lives.
That detritus adds up, a bag here, some bottles there. People putting in a Saturday morning gathering a lot of that up are part of the solution.
Where will you land, SoCalers? There are several spots around Long Beach ready to help our H20 look and feel its best, so sign up for a shift at Alamitos Beach, Mother's Beach, or Bluff Park.
And Santa Barbara has a lengthy list of cleanup sites, from Carpinteria to Goleta and beyond.
Without question, we should only leave footprints at our beaches, which means packing out what we brought in after an afternoon spent at the ocean. But doing a deeper clean, to address the stuff others didn't pack out and all the random objects that end up in our waters, is just smart.
And don't deeper cleans feel good, both for the cleanee and what's being cleaned? You can almost hear the beach breath a sigh of relief.