Wednesday, January 02, 2013


When I was a kid, spending my summers at my family's mountain cabin, whenever I encountered litter on the floor of my forest, I picked it up and brought it back to the proper receptacle. By the mid-seventies, when recycling cans became vogue, it became even more of a priority to be certain that all that wasn't part of the flora and fauna was removed. It was a financial concern that tied nicely to my burgeoning ecological consciousness. I was being rewarded for my environmentalism, as long as I remembered to haul those bags of cans to the recycling center.
Times change, and now I'm miles and years removed from the piny slopes of Colorado. When I'm out walking these days, it's usually in my exceptionally urban neighborhood. I still hear the call of Woodsy, the Owl: "Give a hoot! Don't pollute." Right, Woodsy. Where do I start?
I do my best. When I am out for a run, I scoop up at least a bag full of various sundry detritus on my circumnavigation of the 'hood. Sometimes it's an easier process than others, especially when the litterbug was considerate enough to leave the bag from his Kentucky Fried Chicken binge near the rest of his terrible feast. It does help that the city of Oakland has done us all a favor by stationing trash cans stumbling distance apart, so if there was a conscience working in any of the tiny brains of many of our citizens, then it would be a simple enough connection to make: Trash in the trash can. So simple, even a child could do it.
And yet. every day presents a new mess. I try to snag the cans and bottles to put in our recycling bin back home, but the new trend seems to be trying to crush the glass into as many tiny particles as possible. The cans are harder to disintegrate, but they also have a quick enough cash value that they don't stay in the street very long. So that would count as the relief.
Maybe we could propose an incentive for fast food bags, or arrange some sort of trash exchange program that would pay off in silver dollars, or two for one coupons from the local Taco Bell franchise. Help an Owl out, won't you?

No comments: