Yes! Thank you for these kind/true words! The issue is much more insidious and systematic than many people realize (as such with many of our societal woes). As such, I'm just glad to help to my part in promoting conversations along the lines that you point out.

It's been amazing to share beach cleaning stories whether here on Medium or via YouTube videos and other social media content. There's a real hunger for people to help make a difference--and while few of us may have "the answers" to these problems, every bit is a huge step on the path toward collective awareness and progress!

Plastic petals. Candy wrappers. Tattered ribbons. It was no surprise on my weekly beach clean up that I came across dozens of what I would consider to be “Valentine’s Day gift trash”. Sadly, man-made waste is never hard to find — even if you aren’t looking. And so especially as a regular beach cleaner, I am never shocked by the diversity of trash; although I am fascinated by the alternative gifts that nature has to offer us.

Why gift plastic flowers when real ones are all around us?

You might be surprised to learn how exactly how topical seasonal beach…

Why I beach clean — in rain, sleet, snow, and even the holiday season!

Yes, I am beach cleaning in a Santa hat this week!

It’s no surprise to more and more people that our planet is facing an ocean plastic pollution catastrophe. As such, much of my conservation work is centered on making positive local impacts while also raising awareness toward the larger-scale solutions needed to stem this synthetic tide.

But I’m not here today to bombard you with the horrifying stats of how one day soon there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans, or that…

In the summer of 2016, I visited North Carolina — a state that went blue for Obama in 2008 but flipped back to red for Romney in 2012. Certainly a dynamic place in terms of voter diversity. Yet I distinctly remember for this election cycle seeing lawn after lawn after lawn bedecked with Trump 2016 regalia: flags, and signs, and makeshift billboards. ‘Damn, these people are stoked,’ I remember thinking. But rather than take their collective fervor seriously, I simply wrote it all off as ‘what a crazy world we live in’.

The stakes, in some ways, are much higher…

Plastic ocean pollution comes in all shapes and sizes.

Joe Labriola is a professor of Writing and Rhetoric at Stony Brook University in New York. His recent TEDx Talk, “Beach Cleaning to Make a Difference,” was released in May 2020.

As someone who’s cleaned a literal ton of beach trash over the past several years, let me tell you something about whether beach cleaning really matters. It does — and it doesn’t.

I’m not going to sit here and type about how if you just clean up your local beach that you’ll save the world. You won’t. …

The focus: the value of our individual efforts in effecting societal change

Photo by Teemu Paananen on Unsplash

Joe Labriola is a professor of Writing and Rhetoric at Stony Brook University in New York. His recent TEDx Talk, “Beach Cleaning to Make a Difference,” was released in May 2020.


Last summer, a professor/poet friend texted me that she was hosting an open mic at a local writer’s conference. Never one to turn down good company, good drinks, and good writing, I texted right back: “Sweet! I’ll be there!”

I’ve read various works at open mics over the years: poetry, fiction, essays. My choice of material is often influenced by what I’m writing at the time — and this…

[Click here to watch some of my recent experiences in adapting to beach cleaning during these rapidly changing and uncertain times!]

There are lots of reasons to beach clean — and for lots of reasons beyond just doing something nice for your local community. It’s so easily to feel powerless to help on the path toward meaningful change, especially today.

The coronavirus situation has definitely slowed many of the efforts by local advocates to help make the world a little less trashy, but there’s still plenty that you can do — if you take precautions and heed current health-wellness advice.

Disclaimer: DementoDreams are fictional accounts of, well, demented dreams of writers. All resemblance to any real-world figures are merely coincidental.

Dunno about you guys, but I think I’ll stay put right here on Spaceship Earth, thanks.

I was renting an apartment in NYC and Chris Hadfield was there cooking dinner. He was training for a mission to Mars and so he wanted to make me and my friends one of his homemade stews before he left. We were horrified to see that the main ingredient was four big raccoons. “It’s traditional,” he told us as he smacked them on their heads with a big soup spoon like they were eggs. “Won’t have this on Mars.”


I’m not crazy. Do I seem crazy? Are you crazy?

Working from home can be stressful in normal circumstances, so what’s the best way to manage remote work in these wild times?

If you’re anything like me, then you like to “get out” of the house for work. Much easier said than done as most of us now must work from home (if we’re lucky enough to work at all).

For some of us, this is a relatively reasonable adjustment. If you’ve taught online classes as I have, then this shifting of gears isn’t nearly as monumental as for, well, those who haven’t. …

Classathon: No Car? No Bus? No Problem!

Disclaimer: this is an entirely true story. Believe it or not. Scout’s honor.

You can run, but you cant — well, run forever…

Of course it doesn’t start. The day you try to come in early to school. In hopes of finishing those homeworks you didn’t have time to grade the day before. In hopes of getting everyone back their writing a day early. They’d appreciate that — you think.

But your car isn’t starting — and likely won’t anytime soon. What to do? You could call a tow truck, or a friend for a jump, or say the heck with it all and make a nice breakfast instead as…

Joseph Labriola

Professor, author, beach cleaner, etc. currently studying “Life” at “the University of the Earth”

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