Saturday, May 11, 2013

Cleaning up the litter

-- Positive News -- 

It has been a very active year so far in cleaning up litter while spending time with the dogs. It feels amazing to have played a small role in leaving each treasured nature spot just a little better. Earlier this year we did two roadside clean up adventures in our neighborhood along 6th & 7th Ave North and the connecting roads between since the snow melted earlier this spring, the last one was a few weeks ago and at the end of that trip I noticed that Valley View Drive had a lot of waste and returnable and recyclables along the roadside so we made a mental goal to come back there. We frequently use the area up behind Shikurski Park where there are some dog friendly trails and took those opportunities to glean out some broken glass and food wrappers etc. Then on our anniversary last week we took some time to clean up about 700-800 feet of Valley View Drive at the end of 6th Ave N and gathered two very full kitchen bags worth of garbage. Amazingly, someone had beaten us to the chore and had taken a majority of the garbage there away. I looked in the fields on either side of the road to confirm the garbage wasn't just blown away... and left feeling very pleased about the people in this city. 

Last weekend we enjoyed a nice hour-long walk on Summit Creek Trails... We were actually out there just after the snow melted, and then again earlier this week, and both times were reminded to get out there to do a major clean up activity due to all the garbage down the bank from the parking area. We cleaned up a shopping bag worth of garbage during each of the 3 visits there so far this year, but this last weekend we realized that some people had been cleaning up! There was only about 1/2 the garbage that was down the bank from the parking lot and due to all the shrubs and trees we could tell that it didn't just get blown away. So it was very cool to see how proactive people are around here. Dave also noticed another dog lover picking up litter the last time we were enjoying those trails, though there wasn’t anyone else out there last weekend. We have a goal though to return there in a few days to clean up the remaining litter around the parking lot.

Each time, upon returning home, I carefully sorted out the broken glass, returnable containers, and recyclables materials from the bags before tossing them into the garbage bin and then washed my hands really, really well even though I usually wear gloves and use a garbage grabber tool. In total we’ve probably collected about 2 black garbage bags worth of litter so far this year. I’m so inspired by the action of others as well – their efforts to clean up the litter make us want to do more… and there are a lot of areas that could use a little help. I can’t tell you how it feels to see those areas pristine, safer for tourists and other users of those areas – including the pets and wildlife. Knowing we played a small role in making the world a better place is so very rewarding. We often feel so small, helpless, useless – but small actions like these do add up to making a larger impact. Just imagine if Dave and I were able to do just this one task, collecting that much litter each season – what that might add up to. Communally it would add up to a great deal more!

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