Friday, April 26, 2013

Litter, Litter, Everywhere

As we do many a Sunday morning, my husband, son and I walked to the local coffee shop. It is only 4 blocks away and we enjoy walking by the community garden and through downtown.

However, this past Sunday, the very Eve of Earth Day, I was troubled by what I saw.

Litter. Everywhere. In the streets, in the grassy right of way, in yards, on steps up to a porch, just anywhere you looked, there it was.

We generally will pick up cans or bottles on our walk back and had more than our bag could handle. And we didn’t even come close to getting 25% of it. I realize trash accumulates over the winter when people aren’t out and about to pick it up, but this seemed exceptional. Have people forgotten the proper place to put trash and recyclables? Or could it be the ever growing population of folks who throw their trash out at the curb loose or worse yet, out their car windows that are contributing to this mess?

I do live in a trying neighborhood, I’ll give you that. However, I see a lot of litter everywhere. Suburbia is not exempt from this. However, those people in suburbia seem to be doing a much better job at keeping their streets and lawns free of litter. The first nice day comes and you see them out in droves, cleaning up their yards.

Is it maybe that many of the people who live in my neighborhood are renters and therefore don’t care what the property and neighborhood looks like? Possible. Yet, where are the owners or management companies of these properties? Why don’t they care enough to clean it up and fine their residents for their disrespect of the property?

These are all things I will probably never know the answers to but certainly will keep searching. In the meantime, I guess we need to start bringing a few bags with us every time we leave the house. That’s our baby step toward a greener city center. What’s yours?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Earth Day!

Did you know that Earth Day is Monday, April 22nd and marks the 43rd Earth Day? What are you doing to commemorate it? Each year I try to think of something to do to celebrate the beginnings of our national movement to a better, cleaner environment. I know we all hear that Earth Day is Everyday slogan and it is true. If you are a recycler, make your home more energy efficient, carpool or take mass transit or bike, and generally be a conscious consumer, you are putting this slogan into action. And that is what Earth Day is all about, action.

The first Earth Day in 1970 marked the beginning of a national movement to clean up our air and water (Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act), and establish the Endangered Species Act. Demonstrations were occurring all over the nation in response to polluting industries and the state of our natural environment. Public spaces all across the land were full of people who were concerned for the health and well-being of not only the environment, but themselves and future generations.

Here we are, 43 years later, still fighting these battles. Don’t get me wrong, we have come a long way since April 22, 1970, but we have new and tougher challenges facing us. Climate Change, whether you are a believer of the human impacts or not, is occurring. Weather patterns are changing, storms more frequent and more damaging costing us billions every year. Coastal populations are planning and implementing strategies to deal with sea level rise and some island nations have already left their homelands.

So, what will you do this Earth Day? Commit to saving energy, commit to saving water, and commit to buy a more fuel efficient car or be better about not driving everywhere, plant trees, plant a garden? I have done all of these things already but could still do more. We can always do more. After all, we are the generation of doing more with less right? Our challenges are big; there is no doubt about it. But, we have to rise to the challenge now, before it will take more sacrifice on our part and more irreversible detriment to our natural world.

What will YOU do?