Thursday, January 28, 2016

Clean City: Ours to Lose or Keep

The cold winter month of January
 may seem an ill shuffled timing choice for this Green and Clean column. However, the timing only helps illustrate that, just as precipitation falls from the skies no matter be it snow or rain, in spring or summer, fall or winter, the responsibility  to keep our city clean, falls on our shoulders year round.

We work hard to make our beautiful city the pride of the region. We spend countless hours developing zoning regulations scrutinizing even the smallest of details in the design and placement of commercial and residential buildings. We rightfully boast about finest schools, world-renowned employers and retailers, unique and picturesque small neighborhoods. Our city deserves to be clean at all times of the year.

Perhaps most of us consider littering a gross indulgence, a lazy, offensive, uncaring act: an objectionable violation of our social norm. Perhaps most of us reject apathy, reject the assimilation to even a lightly littered city that we call home.

It is not enough to refrain from littering. To bring the full salutary impact of the social norm, we must show our visible expression of disapproval of the littering action of others.

How can we do that? We might follow the lead of the residents of South Burlington who without fanfare and little, if any, recognition, have adopted a block or park or street to keep clean throughout the year. These folks feel ownership and bear responsibility for the public areas of their neighborhoods. These folks pick up after the few people who demonstrate, through littering behaviors, a missing connection to our community.

For green and clean, we cheer the Adopt-a-Block team; for love of community, we take pride in our storefronts and public spaces. To demonstrate the pride and protect that which we love, will you bear responsibility for her, our city’s cleanliness?  Rain or snow, summer or winter, will you help tidy up South Burlington, Vermont?

It is simple to participate and make a difference. Here is how you can Adopt-A-Block. Send an e-mail to me at bernie.paquette (at) yahoo (dot) com and let me know what road (or section of road) or park or other public area you would like to adopt. There are endless options of what to adopt - from your own street or block to a section of bike path or a nearby wooded area. You can sign up yourself, your family, or your business. Then keep your adopted area clean throughout the year, whether that means daily pick up, a weekly cleanup or a monthly effort. Signups are for one-year intervals. Visit the Adopt-A-Block tab for cleaning tips as well as ways to share your success, including stories and photos. You will also get to see other community members who are part of the clean-up action.

Will you, proprietor, resident, student, young or aged, awaken in yourself, a greater sense of ownership and responsibility for our place?

Clean city is yours to keep or lose: choose to keep her clean.

Bernie encourages everyone to maintain a litter free environment through caring, contribution, and community in order to protect our water, wildlife, and human health.