Where change really begins – in the heart and at home
Have you ever started something important, something you look forward to and anticipate?
You see it clearly in your mind’s eye, when suddenly everything changes in an instant and all your plans turn upside down.
And in the end, to your surprise, you have no regrets; you understand that things turned out just the way they are supposed to be. Bermuda was showing off its vibrant colours on the morning of September 15, all pastels and brilliant whites, turquoise water and deep-blue skies.
I woke up early. I was in a cheerful mood filled with the anticipation of doing a good deed. I was excited to try something I had never done before, something meaningful and significant.
I had decided to participate in The International Coastal Clean-Up Day as a snorkeller with Guardians of the Reefs.
I love the ocean from the bottom of my heart; it is a vital part of my everyday life.
I revere the coral reefs, crystal-clear water, the ever-changing waves, the wild ocean. I love the smell and taste of it.
Its ancient rhythms are in the very fibre of my being.
I am rejuvenated every time I dive right in.
I feel pain, anger and disgust when I see plastic bags swirling in Bermuda’s rare crystal-clear waters.
Garbage on these beaches, among the most stunning in the world, is an insult, a travesty.
This floating mess is an affront to we who live here, and a disaster for the creatures who inhabit the sea.
It is selfishness, carelessness and ignorance all wrapped up in one. It is an attack on something I love.
I believe that one needs to prove their love, not in words but by actions. It’s why I wanted to take part in this worthy global initiative, the world’s largest volunteer event for cleaning up coastlines everywhere.
I packed a mask, a snorkel, my fins, a swimsuit and a towel.
I was ready for the long drive to Whalebone Bay in St George’s from my home in Somerset.
Then, I went out into our garden and stopped.
I looked at the grass covered by flowers, leaves and branches of oleanders. Withered blossoms from our delicate frangipani tree littered the garden.
The road to the house was a blanket of casuarina needles.
In my busy week, I did not have time to clean the garden.
It looked forgotten, neglected and unkempt.
I realised something so simple, yet often overlooked. Before taking care of the planet, I should take care of the place where I live.
I dropped my beach bag and began tending to the garden and the road.
Hot and sweaty work, but I was on a roll.
When I finished, I grabbed a big bucket and went to the shoreline of nearby Cavello Bay and cleared every bit of debris I could find.
Then it was back to my house for my mask, fins and snorkel.
I swam around the point collecting all the plastic pieces I could see on the rocks and ocean bottom.
I finished my personal garden and coastal cleaning event in four hours. As I sat on the stone steps that lead from the ferry dock into the bay, I realised that to make a significant change we don’t need to drive or fly far away.
We start where we live first. We start small and improve what we can.
Whether it’s our garden, our neighbourhood or ourselves, change begins at the spot where we stand.
• Nina London is a certified wellness and weight-management coach. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with her at www.ninalondon.com
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