Tortuga. That was the only word I understood during a conversation between a friend and an older Tica the other night as we were walking down the path to the beach for sunset. She was talking so fast and I was taken by surprise when we abruptly stopped to talk to the woman. All I could think about was…the sun was setting…let’s go!!
After the conversation finished, we walked another 10 or so feet and my friend paused to reach down to the ground and pick up an empty plastic water bottle.
I now understood the conversation. I hadn’t seen the woman throw the bottle but my friend had. I was so proud to call her my friend in that moment. In that moment, she had three options.
- Ignore what she saw and walk past the bottle.
- Ignore the woman but pick up the bottle.
- Or talk to the woman about the harmful effects of littering our planet AND pick up the bottle.
Sadly, the woman would have walked past several large recycling bins at the entrance as she was leaving but instead she chose to leave her debris behind on our beautiful beach. We’ll never know if what my friend told her will make her think twice about her actions in the future but I’m hopefully optimistic.
On this last trip that I just returned from, I watched another turtle die on the beach (the first one was in 2011). We believe it was an Olive Ridley, a vulnerable species according to the IUCN Red List, and it was heartbreaking to watch as there was nothing we could do. We’ll never know what the cause was but it’s highly probable it was due to consuming human caused pollution in the Pacific and not being able to properly digest it.
I came across another turtle in Avellanas this past weekend, getting ready to lay her eggs. It was so nice to see how the few tourists in the area all gave her space as she made the journey from the water to the beach, working so hard to get high enough up on the sand, beyond the high tide level, so her eggs would have a chance to reach full term and hatch.
The turtles are depending on us. Our earth is depending on us. Throw away/recycle your trash, pick up other people’s trash and take the time to educate people on the harmful effects of their poor choices.