In 2016, while spending time with my nephews, I asked myself what good was I doing for them and what am I leaving behind for their future? As a result, I created Ocean’s Beach Cleanup. I named the beach cleanup after my nephew, Ethan Ocean Ramirez, with my goal of making it about educating youth regarding recycling and the effects of trash on our environment. My mission with this beach cleanup wasn't just gathering people to pick up trash but also to encourage people to ditch plastic, live a low waste lifestyle and to influence more youth to lead change within their community when it comes to the environment.
As the beach cleanup has evolved so have my goals. I am now incorporating activities to educate young people on conservation, reduction, and the effects of plastic pollution. As an adult, I see it as my responsibility to help educate and influence the youth to become future leaders of this initiative.
In my efforts to continue to host the beach cleanup, I realized that I needed a way to provide funding to purchase the required supplies. And that’s when I got the idea of opening a straw shop: A&E Straws. Currently, we offer handmade straw sets (steel straw, cleaning brush, straw sleeve), spork sets (spork, spork pouch) and reusable makeup remover pads.
I am now on my 3rd Annual Beach Cleanup and realize just how much it has impacted my life. I have been fortunate enough to meet locals who share the same passion and hopes for our future generation and also environmentalists who I have and continue to learn so much from.
I see this small community I created grow bigger every year and I am looking forward to seeing it grow exponentially larger as I continue this endeavor.