“The Biggest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” – Robert Swan

Walking along the beach in Nova Scotia an unpleasant sight caught her eye, and she rummaged it from the ground. She protects the sea, preserves the beaches serenity. Mystifying everyone that witnessed her politely bringing the beach back to health. Nursing the ailing conditions that the rocks and the seaweed resided in. There was no actual moment that she remembers that made her dedicate her life to this cause. It was sudden and instinctive, she felt like she had to do something and that she indeed did.

Karen Jenner has been a beach girl since she was little and she has been visiting these shores in Nova Scotia, Canada her whole life. But on one of her visits something didn’t sit right with her she didn’t see the beaches the same way as she used to. Something had changed and it was bothering her, she noticed a lot of trash and washed up or had been deposited and disposed of on her beloved bay.

Karen said in an Interview to the CBC, “I didn’t even really see it I guess, like a lot of people wouldn’t.” When she did notice trash, such as the packing straps from the boxes of frozen bait used by fishermen, she said she would break them apart so that they weren’t in a loop and then toss them back on the beach. “It never even dawned on me that maybe you should pick them up and bring them home.”

A year ago however she started seeing the trash a lot more, she began noticing it more than she ever had. She suddenly found herself looking at the beach differently. “I don’t know how it happened or why,” she said. “Seeing the amount of plastic on the beach for some reason, it just struck a chord with me, and I decided I’m going to collect as much as I can for as long as I can.” She Goes to the Beaches on the Bay of Fundy, two or three times a week and fills her buckets with trash trash. She collects everything in her five gallon bucket including fishing garbage, such as rope and lobster bands, to household items, even the smaller waste like bottle caps, plastic cutlery and plastic bottles. Karen Jenner has been collecting plastic for a year now and has removed 2200 kgs worth of trash from the shores. She has taken all of it home with her so that nothing remains but the pristine beauty of the beach.

Although she was determined she found herself doubting whether she could keep doing it. She says, “There could be 100 of me out doing this, and yet the trash would still be coming in. There’s just so much in the water.” It was really disheartening to her, the trash kept coming in and she felt like she was the only one doing something about it, she questioned whether it was of any use because the trash seemed infinite. She would go everyday to the beaches but the tides must be favourable for collecting the garbage. She was massively discouraged at one stage when on a winter day she headed to the beach and saw a dreadful sight.

“The tide was coming in, and it was full of tiny pieces of Styrofoam and rope, I couldn’t believe it that I was seeing what I was seeing. I was so discouraged, and I thought, ‘Why am I wasting my time doing what I’m doing?” She understood that there was a plastic problem there and she needed to spread awareness about the situation. She created a Facebook Page where she shares pictures of the things she collects and she gets a lot of responses. It gives her encouragement to see people understanding the depth of the problem.

When Jenner is done collecting, she loads the trash in the trunk of her car and takes it home to sort and weigh or count the items. Once they’re sorted, Jenner photographs the collection and posts the photos on her Facebook Page. She Tells in the interview, “Keeping a record of what is collected is important because it helps people understand the scale of the problem. If people aren’t aware of a problem, it’s hard for them to relate to it. When people think about plastic and problems with plastic, we tend to think about places other than Nova Scotia, but we have a plastic problem here.” She is sometimes surprised by the things that she finds, other than the usual waste there are some real ‘novelty items’ that she finds. “It’s neat when you find something different.” she says.

On the impact of the awareness she said, “What’s been neat about it is that other people are going to the beach now and picking things up, and that’s nice to see.” Karen Jenner is a firm believer that every little bit counts and everyone can play a part even if it is the tiniest one. “You don’t need to go and come back with 100 pounds, or 100 things. All you need to do is, if you see something where it shouldn’t be, pick it up, and anybody can do that.” Her words are absolutely true: anybody can pick up the trash and people should. The tides turned as she bent them to her will and Jenner set an example to the rest of the people of Nova Scotia and to the people of the world. The Guardian of the Nova Scotia Beaches, she has truly protected those beaches gracefully.

We need to do our part. We need to help out nature just as nature has helped us out all these years. You don’t need to have a lot of wealth or a lot of possessions to help you only need the desire to help. If you have the desire to help, the pathways will open up for you.


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