Goodnight and Good Luck – by Sethra May, guest blogger

 

Sethra May
8th Grade Student
Bay Area, California
March 15, 2011

Though I’ve never seen the movie “Goodnight and Good Luck,” I’ve always liked the name.  To me it says to a person, you are going into an unknown situation, the results hidden by a veil of darkness.  I know you are going, and hate to see you go, but wish you a journey weaved with a strand of luck.  I care enough about them to wish them luck, just like some people care about shoes, clothes, the T.V., or their jobs.  These days though, people are overcome with apathy, not having the capacity to care.  I’ve read essays saying that to stop apathy is to solve all problems in the world.  I think though, that when people are out of practice at things like caring, they need to start small.  If people had the capacity to care about something small like local litter, we could solve pollution.  If people had the capacity to care about something small like that, they could care about bigger things.  So may I ask the harm in trying?

For some reason, I try to be a good person.  When I’m walking around the school campus, I pick up trash I see and put it in the trash can.  I do this so that the campus will be cleaner, and so that maybe some other kid will see me and think, hey I could do that too!  Sadly, all that happens when someone sees me picking up trash is they give me a weird look and walk away.  They don’t care that I’m picking up trash as long as they don’t have to.  So if I’m a doubter in monkey see, monkey do, I don’t think you can blame me.  My hopes lie elsewhere for the world.

Walking down the street, people look at their shoes or their phones completely absorbed in their own problems.  They may frown as they pass a piece of litter, and then are swept away by the crowd and their own thoughts.  When I’m unhappy and see trash all over the place, my mood drops even further.  But if I’m in a bad mood and see a little kid playing in a clean park, a smile crosses my lips.  A clean world is a refreshing and relieving thought.  If people were busy with their own problems and saw a clean street, maybe, just maybe they would be happier with one less problem to think about.  And honestly, if you think one person can’t make a difference, think again.

Richard James is my dad’s friend from college.  Almost every day Richard walks for miles up and down Tomales Beach on Point Reyes.  With a backpack, he packs out 40 to 60lbs of trash each trip and hikes up to 8 miles round trip to and from the nearest parking lot.  Richard doesn’t get paid for what he does; he does it because he cares.  After 3 years of doing this, Richard decided it was time that other people cared too.  He has started up coastodian.org to help raise awareness of the trash that pollutes our oceans and washes up on our beaches.  He’s decided to focus on art awareness.  With the trash he picks up, he makes art and takes professional photos of it in different places.  Knowing Richard and having helped him several times, he sent me an email with the website and his photos.  I forwarded this email to as many people as could, and suggested the people I sent it to send it on.  If this email becomes a chain email, it could do major damage raising awareness.

So to litter, or not to litter.  World, art thou world, I’m not sure how else to ask you to care.  If I’ve gotten one person to care by writing this essay, I shall not have lived in vain.  One person can make a difference.  If you want to, log on to coastodian.org tonight and check it out.  On the off chance you do, know I wish you this. Goodnight and good luck.

Allusions:
Goodnight and good luck~ the movie Goodnight and Good Luck
To litter, or not to litter~ Hamlet
World, art thou world~ Romeo and Juliet
I shall not have lived in vain~ Emily Dickinson

4 thoughts on “Goodnight and Good Luck – by Sethra May, guest blogger

  1. “And Man created the plastic bag and the tin
    and aluminum can and the cellophane wrapper
    and the paper plate and the disposable bottle,
    and this was good because Man could then
    take his automobile and buy his food all in one
    place and he could save that which was good
    to eat in the refrigerator and throw away that
    which had no further use. And pretty soon the
    Earth was covered with plastic bags and
    aluminum cans and paper plates and disposable
    bottles, and there was nowhere left to sit down
    or walk. And Man shook his head and cried:
    ‘Look at all this God-awful litter.’ ”

    – Art Buchwald, 1970

  2. One of my favorite phrases, from Shakespeare’s, The Tempest, is the sea-change — a marked or profound transformation:

    Full fathom five thy father lies;
    Of his bones are coral made;
    Those are pearls that were his eyes;
    Nothing of him that doth fade,
    But doth suffer a sea-change
    Into something rich and strange.
    Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
    Ding-dong.
    Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell.

  3. Amazing; I found your photo on Facebook. Monterey History and Maritime Museum will be having an exhibit from the Plastic Pollution Coalition in May. Richard James’ work, and photos, serve as a inspiration.

    Board President Thomas Hood is sharing your ideas to help further this most important cause.

    Thank you for something meaningful. If it is OK we will update you on the exhibit (unless you can make it; updates on Facebook!)

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