A Tweet For Volunteers

I was having a such a peaceful little cat nap when I was rudely woken by a little birdie tweeting loudly in my ear. Seems my human left the laptop open and I fell asleep on the keyboard after a little internet surfing that ended on Twitter. Glancing sideways at the screen unamused, my ears perked to attention when I recognized the above quote was tweeted by the Canadian Power & Sail Squadrons (CPS).

My humans are members of CPS; volunteers themselves for the past eight years now. They know full well the countless unpaid hours that they and the other dedicated volunteers have put into increasing awareness and knowledge of safe boating. Untold time and energy is invested into educating and training members and the general public, fostering fellowship among members, and establishing partnerships and alliances with organizations and agencies harbouring boating interests.

I rarely volunteer any of my tricks without receiving some kind of treat for doing them, but for humans, if not for the money, why do they do it? Apparently humans have deeper needs so they volunteer for an endless variety of reasons such as to:

  • gain experience,
  • acquire new skills,
  • meet new humans,
  • expand their network of contacts as a way to get a new job or start a career,
  • give back to their community,
  • help a friend,
  • promote a worthwhile activity,
  • feel good.

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Last week our squadron hosted a local shoreline cleanup event registered with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup which is one of the largest environmental activities in Canada, and third largest in the world. Leading by example, my humans along with many other CPS members making up the over 50,000 Canadian volunteers, removed in a combined effort approximately 140,000 kgs of shoreline litter before it could get into the water. Meowee, aquatic life everywhere thanks you!

Whether discarded accidentally or deliberately, all shoreline litter is the result of human activities. Have you ever visited a beach the day after a public event such as a fireworks show? It’s disgusting! The amount of garbage left behind is staggering, and some of it ends up in the water by wind or wave before any cleanup efforts can get underway. Shoreline litter can significantly alter the sensitive balance of ecosystems and is particularly dangerous for marine life by way of entanglement and ingestion, which can lead to restricted movement, injuries, and even death by drowning, suffocation or starvation. Marine debris is a problem for all of us. It affects everything from the environment to the economy; from fishing and navigation to human health and safety; from microscopic plankton to giant blue whales.

It’s seems quite strange to me that garbage is made up of items humans consider worthless. However, according to a survey from a litter study in 2009, it costs over 11 billion dollars in cleanup and abatements…every year! That’s just in the United States of America alone, and Canada can’t really be all that different, never mind all the other countries in the world wherever humans live. I’ve also learned that the oceans have toilet bowls the size of Texas containing confetti size plastic bits and other debris that just won’t flush. Yes plural because there are apparently about five or six of them around the globe. I really don’t think there’s enough money in the world to pay for it’s clean up let alone the cost of repairs the damage it’s presence is causing. Now more than ever, all humans need to voluntarily clean up their act, and that my furiends would truly be priceless.

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Writing 101 Day 5: One of the goals of Writing 101 is to tap into new and unexpected places for post ideas. Today, let’s look to Twitter for inspiration. Today, write a response to a tweet. Shape your post in any way you choose — agree or disagree with the tweet, or use it as a starting point for a story, personal essay, poem, or something else. Visit Twitter.com and enter #quotes in the search field, which will display tweets with this hashtag. Find a tweet that intrigues you.

Boat Graveyard in Gerrans Bay

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Coming into Gerrans Bay, Pender Harbour, BC

As we cruised into Gerrans Bay in Pender Harbour to visit the human’s cabin and their relatives, a disturbing sight caught my attention. For the last few years or so, there were two derelict boats anchored there. Now there are five more of these floating nightmares. What is going on here! The quiet little bay, that has managed to stay somewhat off the radar than the more popular anchorages in Pender Harbour, is turning into a marine graveyard.

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More derelict eyesores.

Of the 2 pre-existing derelicts, one has now sunk, and the other washed up on shore. When vessels sink or are abandoned in bays, harbours and shorelines, they can be an eyesore and a hazard to navigation.  At the same time, they can physically destroy sensitive marine and coastal habitats, sink or move during coastal storms, disperse oil and toxic chemicals still on board, become a source of marine debris and spread decrepit nets, fishing gear, and plastics that entangle and endanger marine life. To complicate matters further,  reviews and permits may be required to remove boats that have sat on the bottom for years, even decades, that may attract the growth of corals and other endangered species on them, or have been abandoned for more than 50 years with respect to historical preservation.

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Derelict vessel ashore.

Human mom tried her best to explain to me the complexities of having these vessels decommissioned and removed until I went cross-eyed. However, I was relieved to find out the humans are finally developing solutions to address the recent increase in numbers. The “do whatever it takes” attitude while understandable, doesn’t always pay especially if the vessel has lost any salvage value. Unlike automobiles, it can cost a lot of money to properly remove and dispose of a boat. Some owners, if they can be found at all, can’t or won’t pay for it although it is ultimately their responsibility. Slowly but shorely, the humans are sharing and implementing what they call “best practices” around the world to deal with these hazards, and to discourage any more from becoming one.

I’m pleased to announce that next month in September, my humans and other members of the Port Moody Power & Sail Squadron will be participating in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup within the harbour of Port Moody. The squadron also has a public facebook page dedicated to the awareness and discussion of environmental marine issues including derelict vessels.

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The tiny yellow family cabin.

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