Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pikcing up the pieces: Why Pick it Up.

Picking up the pieces.

I don’t think I want to.
Have you ever felt like that? Moreover, what did you do next? Did you pick up the next piece or pieces? Did you kick the next can, blow past the next food wrapper, and disregard the tawdry display of carelessness enforced by pride-less apathy? Benjamin Franklin warned, “A little neglect may breed great mischief”.

Alternatively, maybe someone will see you pick up a store circular, a coffee cup, or a cigarette package from the ground and see you deposit the litter in a trash receptacle before you step into the store. Your action will tell them you care. You care about your space in this community.

The responsibility lies within all of us
to keep publicly owned
 as well as storefront
(our community)
free of litter.

How did you feel when you picked up that piece of trash and disposed of it properly? What did you do next when the person behind you, a complete stranger, commented, “Thank you for doing that”? Did you smile, walk lighter, and notice how the day seems brighter, healthier, in an aura of beneficence?

Familiarity breeds contempt. Are littering behaviors likely to diminish without people, public and private businesses displaying daily remedial, restorative cleanup actions? Instilling respect requires robust practices and policies, not platitudes. No trash receptacle nearby? Ask the store manager to consider placing one outside as not only a place to deposit trash, but also as a familiar visible reminder of where trash belongs.

Are you finding proprietors, and real estate owners’ in-effective or worse yet, less than diligent about maintaining a clean storefront? Ask them to maintain their exterior landscape the same way they maintain their store’s interior. Parking lot and green space deserve the same immediacy response (to litter) as a spill in aisle seven. Allow no more than temporary and brief soiled display on storefronts in order to avoid the familiarity that breeds disrespect and further degradation.
Community means shared ownership, shared responsibility, and shared results. 

The pieces are scattered all about our city. We need many eyes that see, hands that pick up, and voices to raise concern in defiance of apathy towards littered trash. Neglect of even a few pieces of litter promotes growth akin to invasive species that are free of predation. Few of us want to clean up litter. Most of us, I believe, feel uplifted when we do pick up litter that we come across during our daily routines. Less litter is impetus for would be trash droppers to can it. This is our domain, we live in it every day, see it first hand, play in it, work in it, commute in it, shop in it. Help pick up the pieces of litter in your daily path. You may not want to; however, you are likely to feel good because you did.

Litter Picking is an All Season Sport.

Bernie publishes short stories and photos reflecting Vermont values of Green and Clean and Community. He urges us all to pick up litter in order to protect our water, wildlife, and human health. 
Bernie resides in South Burlington, Vermont