Last week I was in Virginia and North Carolina; the focus of the trip was to establish contacts within the tobacco industry, mainly Altria - the leading tobacco company. I was unable to get to the front desk of Altria (see video below) - but I was able to make contact with the person who handles their Corporate Responsibility. I look forward to our future discussions and concrete actions to prevent cigarette litter.
The week was also a great time to visit family in Charlottesville and new friends in Wilmington, NC - the Richardet Family. Danielle and her husband Aaron welcomed me to their beautiful home, with their fun-loving kids. Danielle just won the BRITA FilterForGood contest! She energized her local community (as well as the digital Facebook community) around her 20 minute beach cleanups - which have turned into cigarette butt cleanups; check out her blog here
Danielle took me to gorgeous Wrightsville Beach - surfers were in the water and cigarette butts dominated the sand. I could not believe the amount of butts on the high tide line - considerably more than in Southern California. The two of us picked up 407 butts in 20 minutes!
I met Danielle through Sara Bayles from The Daily Ocean. Sara and I have become good friends as we both live in Santa Monica and love 20 minutes cleanups at Pier 26 (although Sara has completed hundreds more cleanups than me).
Sara and her husband Garen are scheduled to hit the seas to explore plastic pollution firsthand via a 5Gyres expedition. They could use our help with fundraising - so lend them your support in cash here