Letter: On Earth Day, do something real

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Graphic by Lori Deaton

In the spring of 1970, I picked up litter along a lake with fellow high school students for the first Earth Day. The following year, I helped organize our school’s second Earth Day, when we gathered the litter bags at my friend’s house so we could recycle the glass and metal. Somehow I got the idea of smuggling the U.S. flag from the school cafeteria and planted it on the huge pile, the flag remaining through the weekend, the weekend of twin anti-war marches in San Francisco and D.C. I didn’t know until recently, but the national coordinator of the first Earth Day grew up in my small hometown.

For this upcoming 48th Earth Day, I encourage people to pick up roadside litter near your neighborhood. The date is April 22, a Sunday. Try to clean up a mile stretch of road. Buy a good litter picker. The best I’ve found is the Dramm Pick- Up Stix, which uses your whole hand for mechanical power instead of your finger. Be safe. Wear nitrile gloves and a safety green or orange vest. Use 13-gallon white kitchen bags inside a similar-sized plastic garbage can. If you have curbside trash service, Waste Pro will accept 12 of those bags per household. Recycle all you can. Invite friends. Have fun.

Litter isn’t about life or death like so many issues we face today, but it is a measure of the spiritual health of a society. Unlike protesting, a largely symbolic activity, picking up litter is something real and nonpolitical we can do as individuals without depending upon moving a bureaucracy. Roads are not wildernesses, my favorite places in the world. They aren’t nature’s pure, untrammeled beauty. But alas, they’re where we spend much of our lives. So, let’s clean them up!

— Mickey Hunt
Asheville

Editor’s note: Hunt reports that he authored A Pictorial Guide to the Monarch Butterfly Migration Over the Southernmost Blue Ridge Parkway. Readers may learn more at chaoticterrainpress.blogspot.com.

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5 thoughts on “Letter: On Earth Day, do something real

  1. Enlightened Enigma

    ‘Intelligent people don’t litter. Be intelligent.’

    Fill in the blank: ‘One might be called a ____________________ if they throw trash on the ground expecting someone else will need to pick it up.’
    What is the best applicable word for this kind of person ?

    • Lulz

      95percent of the plastic in the ocean comes from India and Asia. But the USA is the bad guy to these fools.

    • Tourist

      Stephen Miller, chief strategist for DJT, once said in a speech to his graduating HS class, “They expect us to pick up our trash when there are people here paid to do it for us!”

    • Mickey Hunt

      Believe me, many rednecks hate litter. But the personality and cultural factors that contribute to aesthetic blindness, and lack of personal responsibility, exist in all classes and groups, and even corporations. It just might express itself differently.

  2. Erle

    Why not just pick up the disgusting trash that slobs leave about?
    The most satisfying traffic stop that I have seen was for some trash folk tossing their trash upon a Wisconsin road. The state used to have signs notifying the slobs that they were eligible for up to 250.00 fines for litter.
    The rotten government might want to go after the creeps that willfully foul the public space that the taxcows paid for.

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