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Cleaning up Trash – Earth Day

Stinky, gooey, yucky trash day is the day we selected to volunteer with our daughter at school, but a good day to spend quality time with Ryley. A good way to celebrate Earth Day. Learning to throw away and pick up trash is an important lesson and reminder for all of us both children and adults to take care of the environment. My own daughter having reactions to preservatives and artificial additives, we were happy to do our part, although small, to help our planet.

As we walked down the school’s adopted road in our bright vests, gloves, and surrounded with bags, what trash item do you think we encountered the most? If you guessed the dreaded cigarette butt, you are right. With every other step, we would bump into another rolled up brown and white, piece of paper and hear the children scream – “cigarette butt, cigarette butt!” Instead of green grass and flowers, we saw a mass of these brown and white, half chewed crumpled up rolls of trash. Along with the cigarette butts, there was bits of rubber, plastic bottles, and what the children were not allowed to handle which was shards of glass. Probably the most unusual piece of trash was the big captain hook like hook we found. It’s sad to know tomorrow this same path will be covered with new remnants of people’s trash, but there was a few good learning lessons for the day. First, to see my daughter approach family and friends (after our trash pick-up extravaganza) asking them to throw their cigarette butts in trash cans rather than parking lots, sidewalks, and other public areas, meant she learned something. It also brought me back to my childhood when my parents said we won’t have anything nice if we don’t take care of where we live. What saddens me the most is when I go to National Parks and see a plastic bottle shoved into a rock, a candy wrapper in a stream, a tin can in the middle of a meadow. I am so fanatical about not throwing trash on the ground, we don’t even throw peanut shells on the ground at baseball games; which is an American tradition. The great part is we can now pass down these important lessons of preservation and sustainability to our children. In my opinion, we can not discuss green items, organics, etc. if we’re not teaching our children about why we need to clean-up the Earth.

In the end, there is a great verse from Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax” to stress the importance of clean-up and Earth Day…

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”