On a recent weekend, I went to Baker Beach in San Francisco with my dad to pick up trash for two hours. Working with the Surfrider Foundation, my dad and I each were given an orange Home Depot bucket to fill up with trash. The trash ranged from lighters, paper, candy wrappers to all sorts of plastic. I recognized I was picking up trash harming our coastline. But with the exception of a few little kids there with their mothers, I was the only teenager there. Going out to a beach cleanup for two hours is just the first step to making a change. My generation needs to take ownership, but to make a true impact, we need to be taught how to help.

If older generations could teach younger generations how and why they need to help, maybe I wouldn’t be the only teenager at these beach cleanups. By putting down their phones for two hours and going to simple things like beach cleanups just once a month, people could better understand that something needs to be done and realize they now have the power to make a difference.

Katie Dougherty

San Mateo

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