What’s your Earth Day commitment?

Earth Day 2020 – 50 years of trying to save our planet…my own crusade, one piece of trash at a time.

I walk my dogs nearly every day, all seasons except for extreme weather conditions. And there are 5-6 different routes that we can take when we leave our driveway. Although I occasionally do this, I find it odd that I should put my dogs in a car to find a place to walk. Regardless, our road is a busy country road, getting busier as a new development takes over some crop fields and it is a major access route to a community college.

Because it is a busy road, I often find us moving onto the shoulder or ground close by (only a small portion has sidewalks). There I get my daily reinforcement of vehicle owners who don’t seem to care where they throw their trash – cigarette butts, soda cans, drink cups – plastic and paper, straws, cigarette containers, banana peels (…why?), plastic bags, Stryofoam cups and occasionally tires, 1 shoe (so what happened to the other one?), papers/mail, etc.

I have appointed myself the road litter captain and at least twice a year, take the wheelbarrow and several large trash bags and attempt to clean up, at least for a day or two. I wear my bright yellow jacket, hiking boots, gloves and hat – a real sight to see – in case the drivers don’t see the wheelbarrow with big trash bags! The picture on this post represents 2 months of litter on a mile section of this state road.

Because there is wildlife – geese, ducks, hawks, fish, deer, fox – in the area, I am particularly concerned about them ingesting or getting caught in some of this trash. It is hard for me to even think about the ocean life and trash these days without getting upset. However, I don’t live near an ocean so I need to focus on what I can impact, my immediate environment.

Did you know that one Styrofoam cup may take 500 years to forever to disintegrate in a landfill? Or, how about these plastic bags…estimated life is 600 years to forever! Our fossil fuel supplies today began forming millions of years ago, but the “trash” was biodegradable product. Plastic bags, glass, Styrofoam are not biodegradable, and therefore maintain their characteristics/composition in a landfill. I doubt that our landfills will provide the “black gold” of the future.

So why don’t we pay more attention to our environment and what compliments it (biodegradable) versus leaving trash wherever?

Let’s all pay more attention to our actions in this area – 30 years is a generation, 500 years is equivalent to 20 generations. Unless you are leaving a time capsule for your future offspring, please consider the impact of what your trash might cause.

What will be your effort in support of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day? One very easy commitment to make is to begin refusing store plastic bags by taking your own clothe bag for groceries, office supplies or miscellaneous purchases.