Nature has such a profound way of determining my daily activities. It’s been like this for as long as I can remember. I remember choosing to garden over whatever it was little nine-year-old girls my age were doing after school. I distinctly remember tackling the giant chunk of azaleas that had been overtaken by wild blackberry bushes. Though it cut my hands, I didn’t wear gloves when I pulled the thorny shrubs from the ground. Yet, I refused to stop until I had cleaned up the entire area. In retrospect, I think I felt more alive, even with my hands bleeding from the thorns. As long as I had yard work to do, I was happy and occupied.
Even these days I find myself completely drawn to being outside. It’s December and I simply can’t get enough. Maybe it’s just that I’m sick of how stifling 2020 has been. Maybe it’s me being a year postpartum and I’m antsy to be active to make up for the lost time. Or perhaps I’m realizing how precious every single day is. I look around me and see life booming everywhere. To be a part of this is a gift!
It’s All of Our Responsibility
Recently, I began listening to a book on Audible called There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather. The author, Linda McGurk, touches on how Scandanavians routinely pick up trash and litter, and teach their children in kind. In order to enjoy the great outdoors, McGurk says Scandanavians teach that picking up litter is the responsibility of everyone. I’m heading out on a limb here to say America sorely falls short of this standard. I don’t need to see statistics in order to assume this either. All I have to do is walk outside. Sadly, it’s usually only two minutes after walking outside before I see all the trash. It’s absolutely everywhere.
Not long ago, I picked up the routine of strapping my daughter to my back, grabbing a trash bag and a trash grabber, and hitting the road on foot. Fortunately, our area is incredibly scenic, so we enjoy the stroll and views along the way.
Ten minutes of strolling, though, and I’ve picked up an entire bag of trash. I’ve seen it all folks. If you’re curious, here’s a list I’ve put together of top-common shit carelessly strewn about in the world:
- Used condoms
- Used tampons
- Fast food cups
- Fast food containers
- Beer cans
- Beer bottles
- Soda cans
- Soda bottles
It’s Gross, but it’s Necessary
“Stop littering” – I feel like this conversation is so obvious that I’m a little shocked it’s still being had. Nonetheless, I’m here for it, you betcha. That’s why I’ve put together a list of nine reasons you should start picking up trash today.
- Litter can devalue a community and destroy economical opportunities like tourism. By picking up trash, you’re partaking in keeping your area beautiful to both you and possible visitors.
- Picking up litter reduces harmful run-off from household and industrial waste.
- Trash kills our animals. Picking up trash where and when you see it helps prevent this from happening.
- Trash destroys our ecosystems. The most prevalent example of this is how trash is destroying our oceans and our oceans’ ecosystems.
- Picking up trash protects members of your Community, both human and non-human. Consider unsterile needles, broken glass, unsecured debris flying off of vehicles that cause wrecks on the freeway…making sure trash goes in the trash bins is the best way to prevent accidents from happening.
- Littering is ridiculously expensive. Consider the amount of money it takes to fund clean-up efforts. Picking up trash when and where you see it can cut down on costs.
- Trash is so ugly, I think everyone can agree on this. Picking up trash is your special way of beautifying your community.
- Trash causes unsanitary water sources that can become undrinkable.
- The germs and bacteria that thrive in trashy and high-impacted litter areas are incredibly harmful to you, your community, the animals that live near you, and the entire ecosystem that should be thriving.
What an incredibly easy thing is should be to put trash in a trash receptacle. Yet, there are those among us who still find it necessary to toss their refuse right out the window and straight to the ground. We can’t change people, but we can change our environment.
As for me, I’m going to continue strapping my little babe to my back and setting out to beautify the world around us. It’s now her world, too. The best thing we can do is to be humane to Mother Earth and to teach our children in kind.