Why not take a hero holiday?

Rather than sunbathing on a beach, why not take along a garbage bag and clean it up?

Sitting on the beach while reading a good book or breaking out the suntan lotion and baking for a bit is always a good way to spend a couple of hours on a hot summer’s day.

Its entertainment value only goes so far however and when you go back to work and people ask you about your holiday, the best you’ll likely come up with is something in the order of ‘oh, it was nice.’

There is however at least one other option that also involves sun, sand and surf that will provide stories to tell your co-workers — who will all want to hear about it — and maybe the grandchildren a few years or decades down the road.

There’s nothing like feeling you’ve accomplished something meaningful, something worthwhile on your time off, particularly if it means working shoulder to shoulder with other like-minded and public-spirited individuals. Nothing builds community like shared activity, after all.

So why not consider taking a version of what some call a hero’s holiday? No, we’re not talking about going overseas to help people in underdeveloped countries here. We’re talking about doing some good right here in B.C., maybe even on Vancouver Island.

Even  as we speak, a raft of Japanese tsunami debris is headed this way. A whole swack of it has already grounded in Haida Gwai, choking those pristine beaches with plastic, wood and other debris.

Although officials in Washington State and Oregon have begun to mobilize to meet the threat, our B.C. government seems to be less than alarmed at the prospect of our beautiful coastline being swamped with garbage.

When governments fail in this manner, sometimes it comes down to ordinary citizens to take up the garbage bag and the tongs, drive out to the west coast and get to work. Taking personal responsibility for our beaches isn’t new. Volunteers did it in 1989 when Long Beach was fouled with oil. We can do it again now.                              — editorial by Neil Horner