When Walter, Norman, and I take our twice daily walks, we usually find and pick up lots of litter along State Street. Some of it is from careless drivers and pedestrians who throw trash along the road, but other comes from inefficiencies in the waste management system. (I found a piece of mail we’d put in recycling down the street the other day.)
During IABS in Asheville, I spent an afternoon working with Asheville Greenworks to help clean Hominy Stream with a few other IABS volunteers. Some of us helped remove invasive plants; others walked the stream to take out trash. Embedded in the creek bed, we found a carburetor, part of a car’s bucket seat, and a plastic raft along with numerous aluminum cans.
One of the volunteers, Melissa, had once lived in Cincinnati, and she said that she had on occasion taken her sons on “trash walks” in the city. The walks served a number of purposes: they got to spend time together, they engaged in physical activity, they learned about the city, they saw the negative effects humans can have on the natural and urban landscapes, and they contributed to a solution. While I don’t think Walter and Norman get the same philosophical perspective on our trash walks, we do try to make a small positive impact.
Remember not to litter, pack up your trash and recycling well before putting it out for collection, and take your kids, dogs, or friends on trash walks in your area!