Last week my son found a shard of well worn sea-glass at the beach and I was immediately excited and then later saddened to be shown this discovery. Finding sea glass has always been akin to finding treasure for beach goers around the world, but sadly, since the advent of the plastic bottle, sea glass has been on a slow decline into extinction. Today, the existence of sea glass it is little more than nostalgia for those of us old enough (I’m only 41) to remember a time when finding it was not uncommon. Nostalgia, as I mentioned in my first post, can be a terrible thing. It is that feeling, above all others, that I hope my children never have to feel towards the natural world. If they do, my greatest hopes will be lost.
Of course, sea glass, with all its beauty, was always a symptom of humankind’s disrespect for nature. Forty years ago, when Coke came in thick bottles, most Americans didn’t seem to think twice about tossing an empty bottle into the roadside or a creek. Today, our attitude about Nature and the trash we dump on it is a whole lot more conscious, but our consumption along with our population has grown exponentially. Our efforts to recycle have been overwhelmed by our need to buy and our reflex towards convenience. In the past, Nature at least had a chance to turn our disrespect into something beautiful, turning refuse into sea glass.
There’s a valuable lesson to be learned there and a clue for how we humans can direct our efforts. We should always think about how the environment will respond to the materials we create. And, if Nature can beautify the ugliness we throw at it, can’t we do the same? Our actions to care for the Earth can make a child smile.
At about the same time that my son found that shard of sea-glass, I contacted Bedrock Industries (www.bedrockindustries.com ), a maker of recycled glass tiles, to order samples for my store. In addition to being a fan of their product and their business ethic, the people at Bedrock manufacture something very much like sea glass – tumbled glass. I admire businesses that take what is often considered waste product and revive it with a new purpose. Yes, I error on the side of consumerism here, buying a pound of tumbled glass for no known purpose yet, but a lot of applications do come to mind. In the meantime, I feel a need to support such initiative.