You’re walking along enjoying your day. You’re enjoying the beautiful scenery around you when you see it happen. Someone walking up ahead of you tosses their garbage on the ground. How do you feel about this?

I cannot stand this. It’s even worse when you are driving in your car and you see someone chuck a drink or some other piece of garbage out their window. The earth is not a waste basket. I would like to say we are the dominant species and it is our responsibility to keep the earth clean, but some of the people I come in contact with convinces me otherwise.

We take advantage of the great gift we are surrounded by each and every day. Before you take that burger wrapper and throw it on the ground, take a look around. Look at the trees and the grass and all the plant life (maybe there’s even a garbage can within walking distance). Just think about what that little piece of trash could do to all the vegetation.

  • “But there are garbage men out there for that reason, and I’m giving them a job!” That’s a stupid thing to say.
  • “There aren’t enough trash cans around”. This may be true, so do something about it. Don’t just be content with throwing it on the ground. Write a letter. Find organizations that take care of things like this and give them a call. If you live in a community, you have a responsibility to help keep it clean and that requires some work from you.

Here is a neat article on trash cans and upkeep in Philadelphia. In the article, Annamarya Scaccia mentions community responsibility. It is the communities job to keep streets clean and to do something about it when they are not. Each individual person is responsible in some way. So if you see someone who litters in front of you, make sure to remind them where the trash cans are and if they give you any of the excuses mentioned above, tell them a little about community responsibility.

Here is a list of ways to keep your community clean:

  • Work with the local civic groups to identify and eliminate eyesores, and beautify the local environment
  • Pick up a piece of litter every day
  • Keep a litter bag in your car or your recreational vehicle so you dispose of litter properly
  • Create a trash fishing contest in your waterway to increase awareness about illegal dumping and littering
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper asking others to respect public lands and keep them clean
  • Help your local schools conduct recycling drives and clean-up projects
  • Create a beautiful green space by planting trees and shrubs in an area in need of improvement.
  • Ask local businesses to adopt-a-spot and take care of it
  • Paint and fix up playground equipment
  • Organize a paint-out with family and friends and create a community paintbrush mural over a wall of illegal graffiti
  • Recycle your old tires
  • Report graffiti to your local authorities
  • Donate your old computer equipment or dispose of it properly
  • Conduct a recycling drive in your neighborhood or your business
  • Volunteer to help your employer conduct paper recycling drives at work
  • Donate gently used clothes to needy organizations and shelters and identify other items that you can reuse
  • Compost yard and food waste and seek advice if you don’t know how
  • Find out how pollution in storm drain runoff can impact our aquifers and ecosystems and be passionate about doing your part to reduce litter and solid waste
  • Ask your local government officials to establish regular community improvement activities and to support and promote volunteer efforts
  • Help your library establish an environmental corner that offers books and other educational materials about taking care of the Earth
  • Get your local Pokemon Go players to walk, hunt, and pick up trash!

-Matt