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Influencer claps back at 'Debbie downers' who criticize beach cleanups: '[It's] a fun way to create awareness'

"I know it's always a good time to hold polluters accountable."

“I know it’s always a good time to hold polluters accountable.”

Photo Credit: @relauren / Instagram

Inspired by a mosaic mirror made from beach plastic by Instagrammer Hannah Tizedes (@hannahtizedes), sustainability influencer Lauren Bash (@Relauren) transforms trash into treasure while clapping back at naysayers in the most creative way.   

In an Instagram Reel, Lauren creates "trashy art" as she explains why small actions can make a big difference despite "all the folks who throw shade at beach cleanups." While upcycling bits of plastic into a colorful clock frame, Lauren acknowledges the severity of the plastic pollution crisis. 

The United Nations Environment Programme reports that "the equivalent of 2,000 garbage trucks full of plastic are dumped into the world's oceans, rivers, and lakes" each day, altering habitats and disrupting ecosystems, directly affecting millions of people through its impact on food production and environmental health. 

In the face of a massive problem like plastic pollution, it can be easy for "Debbie downers," as Lauren dubs them, to argue that individual actions don't matter. Lauren rejects this idea, saying that "inviting folks out to clean the beach, or park, or city block is a fun way to create awareness of how bad this plastic pollution crisis is."

Lauren argues that actions such as collecting plastic on your favorite beach are the first step to igniting further activism. A single person can create a ripple effect by inspiring others to take action, even if it seems insignificant.

One commenter said, "Every week my mom goes out with her trash bag and picks up all the litter on their road. Maybe it doesn't FIX the problem, but she's keeping it from getting into the water, or an animal from eating it."

Just like her friend Hannah gave Lauren the idea to repurpose plastic from the beach into a one-of-a-kind clock, the actions of an individual can spark positive change in others that could grow into a movement, building a community of activism and support.

"Now when I look at it," Lauren says of her salvaged DIY clock frame, "I know it's always a good time to hold polluters accountable."

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