I feel planet Earth and the people it supports are truly, to borrow from the Ancient Chinese Proverb, a “yin and yang.” Inevitably population numbers are growing. The Earth “feels” the affect. You can look at the glass half empty - carbon emissions causing climate change, plastic pollution in our oceans, loss of old growth forests, etc. Or you can look at it with a glass half full - an opportunity to help planet Earth. The Earth is pretty resilient, but this doesn’t mean we should be destroyers. Let’s all be protectors! Now I am not saying that everyone needs to take public transportation, invest in solar energy, and compost and recycle every piece of “trash”…. Although this could help, let’s face it – most people don’t really like abrupt change. So maybe it could be a little more gradual.
As a “tween” I became more aware of the world around me and my interactions with people and nature. I started to learn about how human activity changes the natural environment. And it was eye opening! I bought the book “50 Simple Things You Can Do To Help Nature.” And I was ready to SAVE THE EARTH!!!!
Now that I am older, I still want to Save the Earth but I think reality, and responsibility, has changed my thinking a bit. I needed another eye opener.
Recently, I joined my co-worker, and friend, Elizabeth in her Litterati Campaign. Here is how it works in three simple steps. Step 1: Look for trash (the easiest step). Step 2: Take a picture and record what it is. Step 3: Throw it out. I thought it would be a good idea to pick up trash in my neighborhood/community. I even coaxed my family to join me in this activity. My excitement scared them a bit, but we all got out of the house. So, I considered it a win!
I was amazed at what we found. In just a couple of hours we filled a bag with 100+ pieces of trash. Eye opening! And satisfying. A little gross too. My husband was trying to get me to pick up a bed pan near the hospital! Yuck. I had to draw the line there.
Reflecting on the days activities, I thought about what I was teaching my children, I became more self-aware of my own trash and personal “debris,” and I even thought, well I should do this more often. Just a simple task of picking up trash helped me provide a service to my community and helps Lake Erie too! I am forming a Litter Pick Up Plan that will work with my schedule. I might start small – once or twice a month, with the hope of expanding….
So maybe you don’t want to pick up trash – but find that one simple thing that you can change that makes the Earth a little better. Bring your own bags to the grocery store, mow your lawn and leave the grass clippings, turn off the water faucet while brushing your teeth, add a native plant to your lawn......
One small change can make a difference. Remember all living things are interconnected!
Blog Author: Carla Regener, Natural Resources Program Manager