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Made by humans

Since I was little, I would start a project and not be able to sleep before I had wrapped it up. It wasn’t like I wanted the results without the work, but I wanted to do the work and end the session with seeing the result straight away. I’m not good at pausing, and I hate giving up.

For preparation of my master project, I am clearing a few selected beaches for marine debris, for being able to study what litter comes in to stay on the beaches (and how these objects move after they have stranded). I am very excited about the project and for working towards more knowledge to take care of our oceans, but it’s been a rough couple of weeks. Or, to correct myself, I’ve been quite rough on myself over these weeks. A Wednesday morning earlier this month, I was facing the first beach I was going to clear, a beach fully loaded with marine debris. At the same time my mind was preoccupied with thoughts on how to be an antiracist in a world that is in desperate need of new perspectives and change. The reality was about to hit me hard.

On the first beach, we started off hoping we would be able to finish up cleaning the beach after a couple of days. Days turned into a week. On only that one beach. 7 long days we spent on that location. 6 days I should have been happy about how much we had cleaned, of which I spent 5 of them being stressed overnight for the next day instead. When we were done, I was not even happy. I was exhausted, and sadly knowing that underneath the beach surface, ropes and plastic and so much more anthropogenic litter, still is entangled and hiding from the surface. So, I spent that afternoon at home trying to convince myself I was relieved, but in reality, the bad feeling seemed to grow inside of me.

During preparation, my second practical task is: When the beach is cleared, I am registering all items into size and categories. I empty the bags full of collected litter onto a tarp on the ground, and from there start sorting each and every piece into the categories. Ropes, food packaging, lids, strapping band, the list goes on. When all is sorted, everything is counted and weighted. One bag done; I start on the next. Imagine me, not good at pauses, not able to put the dot on my working day. Skipping lunch. Working on debris from a beach with endless of trash. Imagine me doing this, while listening to the last part of maybe the most important book I’ve ever read: “How to be an antiracist” (by Ibram X. Kendi – a book I recommend to all of you) while sorting this litter in (more and more) pouring rain while my energy level is on low and reality hits me harder than ever. My perfect little world crushing, not broken, but desperately in need of an upgrade.

I wanted to sit down, on top of the litter, and cry my heart out. It just felt like it was all too much. But it’s not. Not really. It’s reality, and something we need to work hard for and change. All of us.

I was exhausted, stressed, overloaded with information, along with new knowledge of two of what I consider global issues that both need attention and action straight away, for as long as the problems still exists. No action, and silence is not an option in either of the two. And on top of all this, in that moment, I put shame on myself. Started realizing when in life I could’ve been better, when I should have said or done more, when I should have been smarter. Telling myself I will do better now. In this rainy moment, in the middle of a whole load of marine debris, I found out I need to do better. So do you. And, so do we. We are facing so many problems in this world, purely made by humans. Please, let’s not ignore humanity and our nature.

I am writing this on a Tuesday, one week after the moment of realization. Still not over it. Just came home from a new day with sorting litter. I am hungry, exhausted, and my mind is still overloaded. I’m not good at pausing. I hate giving up. So, I’m not going to start giving up now. But I guess it’s an idea to stop to eat and drink now and then, so I’m ready to fight for what I believe in. And I guess you should too. During the last few weeks I’ve come to learn that sometimes results are neither visible or possible before we change our perspectives, and when your actions change with your perspectives, and you continue to act this way – that’s when the great results eventually can show.

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