For more than 40 years, Billy Paul has been an environmental activist involved with many environmental projects in San Diego. He also rescues beagles.
He works tirelessly to protect the natural environment and the unique animals that call San Diego home, particularly in the areas around Ocean Beach and along Rose Creek.
A Vietnam veteran and former Marine, Paul has been involved in everything from cleanups at Dog Beach to saving Famosa Slough from being drained by developers back in the 1970s. When he first got involved in cleanups, areas like Famosa Slough were being used by locals as dumping grounds for everything from shopping carts and even cars.
Working with other dedicated citizens, Paul helped revitalize the area and started to notice a trend: the cleaner the area was, the less trash people would dump there over the course of a year.
“I’ve come to realize that if people don’t see trash there, they won’t dump stuff there,” Paul said.
Several years ago, Paul started volunteering at Rose Creek, an often-overlooked waterway that runs along the eastern boundary of Pacific Beach and behind Mission Bay High School.
He became a site captain for that site, alongside his friend, Karin Zirk, who is also a member of the Friends of Rose Creek.
Not only have the duo removed tons of trash from the creek, they convinced Campland by the Bay to host an ice-cream social after cleanups, providing volunteers with a small token of appreciation after a long morning of work.
Paul, a former resident of Pacific Beach, now lives in Clairemont.
— I Love a Clean San Diego