PALM BEACH, Fla. — I caught up with Diane Buhler on a beautiful, sun-drenched day in Palm Beach. Chamber of Commerce weather. Another day at the beach for Buhler means another day fighting the rising tide of trash along our shorelines. She’s been walking private stretches of Palm Beach beachfront for years, areas she said the town does not touch.
She showed me a bag tossed aside in the sand. Buhler exclaimed, “Right, so this person took the bag to clean up after their dog, but they picked up the poop and left the bag.”
Buhler is not the type to be left holding the bag. She decided to start her own non-profit in 2013. It is called “Friends of Palm Beach”. She spies plastic everywhere, assorted other garbage dumped by beachgoers, and the medical waste she thinks washes ashore from who knows where. Buhler told me, “Earth Day for me is every day.”
She is not alone. Donations to her organization allow her to pay several helpers on the beach patrols. They are drawn to Buhler and her passion to clean our local beaches. In turn, Buhler was drawn here after 911. This former bond trader lost friends in Lower Manhattan that day. The tragedy eventually led to her trek south. “What brought me here…I needed to heal," said Buhler.
And with healing came renewed purpose. She said, “One person can make a difference. I started this with a small idea and a desire to be a solution, and we are at over 180,000 pounds of (collected) trash.”
Making a difference, one step, one beach walk at a time.