Monday, October 15, 2007

Pick It Up

Today is Blog Action Day. Today we're going to talk environment, particularly trash.

I am a baby boomer. Back in the day, it was no big deal to throw your trash out the window of the car. I probably threw some out myself.

Four years before I was born, Keep America Beautiful was founded in 1954. In 1965, when I was eight, Lady Bird Johnson started a nationwide campaign to clean up America. In 1971, when I was fourteen, the "Crying Indian" commercial was launched. Mississippi, my birth state, has a 30% higher litter rate than the national average. With a lifetime of litter education, one would think I should see a difference.

A few weeks ago as I was walking around my neighborhood, I saw a fast-food sack along the street. Some of the paper remains of the meal were scattered about. I walk a loop, and knew I would be passing the trash again, so I bagged it and left it for my return. As I walked back, I picked up additional trash, so by the time I had returned home, I had a bagful. I did my part for the environment. At least I did that day.

This weekend, as I was driving home, someone in the car in front of me threw the remains of their drive-through meal out the window. My daughter and I were horrified. We were stopped at a traffic light, and I dared her to pick up the trash and hand it back to the offender. She demurred, citing safety concerns. The light turned green, and we drove on. Only then did we
think about the idea of stopping the car, picking up the trash, and throwing it away properly. On the way home, we saw another can, but didn't pick it up either.

I know all about litter. But all the knowledge in the world will do no good until I do something. I've spent 50 years picking up the litter I choose to, but starting today I will choose differently. I will pick up all litter I can, even if I consider it an inconvenience. It may not be my litter, but it's my street, my city, my world. And if I don't make a difference, who will?

1 comment:

Kat said...

Just had to let you know that I'm following your example... this afternoon I took my kids and my dog for a walk around the block, and we brought along an extra bag to pick up litter. My 4-year-old had a grand old time pointing out every wrapper (and twig and ant hill) in sight, and it was a good chance for me to talk to her about why we should never litter. Of course, when we got home, she reprimanded her 1-year-old sister for "littering the playroom," so I suppose we still have a little bit of work to do...