Litter Picker

It’s been awhile since I have talked about Changing the World. Action 44 in my I Am What I Do- 50 ways to make a difference book is ‘Pick Up Litter’. Not only just don’t drop it, but pick up someone elses.

Why do people drop their garbage? Why throw a cigarette out the window of your car? Why spit your gum onto the sidewalk? Can anybody justify these acts to me? Because far too many people do it. Is littering not yet taboo enough to shame you into not doing it?

I am hoping I shamed one lady into never littering again. And I am not at all ashamed at shaming a senior citizen either.

I am sitting in the car, parked at the local grocery store, waiting for Bal to run in and grab some BBQ essentials, when I watch an elderly lady walk out. She shuffles her little feet along, clutching onto her small bag of purchases. A teller runs out after her as she forgot her lettuce. I watch the exchange and see her deposit her lettuce into her enviro friendly reusable bag. “I really need to get some of those.” I scold myself as I keep saying that but have not yet actually done it.

That’s when the Enviro-Friendly-But-Not Senior Citizen pulls out her receipt and candy wrappers from her purse and drops them on the sidewalk. It is a purposeful act as she continues shuffling herself to her car a few feet away.

Directly in front of her car? A garbage can.

She slowly gets in her car. Which is when I decide to go pick up her litter.

Exiting my car, I walk directly to her garbage, pick it up, walk the few feet in front of the elderly ladies car, beside the garbage can, hold my hand full of her litter above the garbage can and wait for her to look at me. I imagine she senses my presence and is avoiding my gaze.

But just then she looks up. Dramatically, I make a show of dropping her garbage into the can, then hold out my hands as if saying ‘See? It’s just that simple lady.’ She appears embarrased and laughs as she doesn’t know what else to do. I am fairly certain she will not drop her garbage on the roads ever again.

And me, I’m headed out to buy myself some of those reusable shopping bags (Action #2- decline plastic bags whenever possible)…


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