Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Green Choices Wednesday

Green Choices --

We all make hundreds of small choices every day, many without even thinking about them.

This is not a pretty picture.  It represents the choices made by many people as they enjoyed the natural beauty of Village Creek, a local treasure.  It is the newest of the Texas Paddling Trails, as  designated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department:

As I kayaked on this beautiful creek Saturday, I picked 47 aluminum cans and 8 plastic bottles from the water and from sand bars along the creek.  Such a shame that everyone cannot enjoy the gift of nature without leaving trash behind.

I'm sure that none of the readers of this blog, a blog that highlights environmental concerns, would ever consider leaving a piece of litter behind.  That is a green choice, and I applaud and appreciate that.

Several years ago, as I was running on a beautiful wooded trail in a park, I came to a realization.  I occasionally saw a piece of litter on or near the trail, and always thought, "I'd never do that.  Why do people do that?"  One day, I saw a walker on the trail stop, pick up a piece of litter, and take it with him.  That both impressed me and kind of shamed me.  At that moment, I realized that was another choice-- to walk or run past the litter, or to pick it up.  Two levels of choice.  The first choice, to not litter, or to not make a litter problem worse.  And a second choice, to pick something up, and make the problem better. Since then, I put a bag in my pocket when I go to a park to run.

I decided I don't want to settle for not making the world worse.  I also want to leave it better.

                Village Creek, Hardin County, Texas, August 7, 2010.


FoodFitnessFreshair said...

I try to pick up litter as much as possible when I see it. It truly saddens me to see trash lying around everywhere. Is it really that hard to find a trash can?

Vern said...

Sometimes the litter is next to a trash can! That's even more discouraging! Thanks for helping make this a cleaner world!

Don said...

I can't help but notice that bulk of your finds are beer cans. Michigan has eliminated this problem by banning alcoholic beverages in state parks and putting a 10 cent deposit on beer and soda containers.

Since they brought back bottle and can deposits about 35 years ago, you never see them littering the parks and highways. If someone does happen to toss a can or bottle out their window, there are always people willing to pick them up for the extra money.

I believe there are about 10 states that currently have deposits on beverage containers. It's too bad they don't all have it!

Vern said...

Don, unfortunately, it takes more than banning alchohol in parks. I've picked up thousands of beer containers in parks where alchohol is banned.

Deposits, however, ARE effective. I totally support deposit laws and wish all states had them. Most people will not throw the containers away if there is enough monetary value associated with them. And the few that do get tossed will be picked up by other people to retrieve the deposit value.

A shame that many people care more about the nickles and dimes than about being responsible stewards of the Earth!

Don said...

An even bigger shame is that so many young people don't even care about the nickels and dimes! I've seen kids throw bottles and cans in the garbage, and when I reminded them they were worth money, they responded with, "Oh, it's only 10 cents!"

Vern said...

Don, that is unfortunated that neither social responsibilty or monetary reward matters to a few.

If they toss the bottles and cans even though they are worth money, at least the monetary value from the deposit encourages someone else to pick it up!