Thursday, September 9, 2010

National Popcorn Day Jan 19: Who is responsible for this mess?

Litter Picking is an All 
Season Sport.

Who is driving the RV? The question goes un-asked in the recent Orville Redenbacher popcorn commercial whereby a family is sitting in the back of an RV while eating popcorn. The dad joins the family for popcorn while the RV cruises down the highway driverless. Only when the vehicle begins to swerve wildly, does the designated driver, the dad, and the family recognize something is in disarray.

We indeed live in a society that throws a multitude of responsibilities, items of interest, a barrage of “look at me” events at us. Thankfully, in South Burlington, billboards are lacking and roadside signs down sized. So other than popcorn and cell phones and the kids and pets in our vehicles we manage to pay attention at the wheel.

We have rules, regulations, laws, and common expectations on how we all behave on the road, at work, and even while at leisure activities. Most of the time, most of the people are successful in abiding by these expectations which in turn keeps things from getting in disarray. We have an open society that allows us all to look out the window from time to time and to alert the driver if our vehicle ventures off course.

Sometimes too few eyes are periodically smelling the breeze or watching the road signs, or just plain checking on the condition of the operation. Even with good regulations, and even with the expectation that someone else is qualified and in charge -responsibility along with the effect of actions taken or not taken come to rest on top of the whole party, as in all of us.

Should the driver stay at the wheel even when the family is enjoying popcorn in the back of the RV? Yes, of course. Should we be putting our trust in the regulations of the road and in the qualifications of the licensed driver? Yes again. However, does that mean that we should not be looking and raising the alert when it looks like things are in disarray? No, even if we expect the responsibility to be on others shoulders. For in the end if the RV plummets without course correction, we will all have less popcorn to eat and have a real mess on our hands.

First, we need to have good regulations and procedures. Second, we need to be observant in monitoring the results on a regular basis, and take action when we see deviations from the expected results.

Litter on our streets is a sign someone has behaved differently than society expects of them. 

If we do not observe this shortfall (litter on the street) and take action, we risk an underfunded urban environment and quality of life over time. While we wish for no one to let us down by being a litterbug, it is also all our responsibilities to course correct.

Pick up a piece every day. Then sit back and enjoy some popcorn!

* And if you see litter on the storefront of a merchant you patronize, redeem the Clean Up Coupon at that store.

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