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Monday, May 30, 2011

Two Years Later

It has been a couple of years since Memorial Day 2009.

I remember that day because it was the first major holiday weekend following a large article in the Seattle Times about sea glass. Of course, I had no objections to an article about sea glass... I just had objections to a couple of people's decisions to openly disclose the best beaches on which to look for sea glass to the newspaper readership in a metro area with some 3 1/2 million people.

Those who so openly shared this information should have known better, although I suspect they simply did so in service of being "open and forthcoming" about our wonderful hobby... but forgetting the possible impact of their words.

I could also blame the reporter for writing about the way "people make money on eBay" from selling sea glass... but people of the press are generally about telling the story and rarely possess the ethical fibre necessary to think through to the lasting impact of their words. The typical argument is that "today's paper will line tomorrow's bird cage." Whereas I personally see that as an "abdication of accountability," I don't care to get into a deeper philosophical debate about it.

I was interviewed for that same article, but I very carefully chose to speak only of sea glass and its origins... and in spite of being "prodded," staunchly declined to share where I'd found anything. I ran a retail business for 13 years... I've dealt with the press, in the past.

Any resource that is "overharvested" (be it the clear cutting of old-growth forests, strip mining or telling millions of people where to find sea glass) suffers lasting damage, and we ALL lose.

Two years have passed.

The crowds that descended on the beach-- in large numbers-- during that summer (and to a lesser degree for another 18 months) have mostly disappeared.

Sadly, so has most of the sea glass.

Of course, there is still glass there, but I'd estimate about a quarter the amount that used to be there. The rare colors seem more affected; the common browns and clears are still there... although a higher proportion are chipped-- the "common rejects" that were thrown back.

I definitely still enjoy my walks on the beach, but makes me a little sad. I know for a fact that this particular stretch of beach was frequented by collectors since the 1960's, and all was well, for almost 50 years. Then, in less than two years, the "resource" was decimated.

What makes me sad is less the lack of glass to be found, than the manifestation of human greed.

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About Me

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1960 vintage Danish national now living in the Pacific Northwest... active in the global HSP community; active beach comber and sea glass collector; lifetime collector of postage stamps from Scandinavia; writer and consultant, primarily to the metaphysics and self-help industries, writer at OM Times magazine; artist who doodles on rocks; eBay & Etsy entrepreneur and studio and production assistant at Radio Nahmaste.

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