As children, most of our parents constantly told us to clean up after ourselves. To put our toys away, to make our beds, to wipe up the spilled paint all over the kitchen table — we always had a little voice over our shoulder reminding us that it’s necessary to clean up your own messes. But as we grow into adults, it seems that there are more than just a few people who do not remember that important lesson and start treating their own surroundings very poorly. However, this lack of cleaning up after oneself doesn’t only affect a kitchen counter or a bedroom — it affects each and every person on the planet, our “communal home” if you will. We all live here in this house, and we’re each responsible for cleaning it up.
While I would like to see the phrase “go green” eliminated from the English language altogether, I do want that kind of living to become the norm and not the exception to our way of life. It shouldn’t be something we “do” but rather just the way it is. We could all use cleaner air, less toxic products, and safer food to eat. That being said, I also understand that being bombarded with ideas for, and I hate to say it, “going green” can be overwhelming and a big turn off for many people. So how about this concept instead?
Just clean up after yourself.
Maybe if we stop harping on the animals and the rain forest and the polar bears and instead start concentrating on people’s own families, children, grandparents, and future generations rather than planetary climate change, we can get their attention.
Yep, that’s it. This is what we should be striving for. I have said many, many times here that most residents of planet Earth lucky enough to have a comfortable place to call home are not going to be willing to trade it in for a hut made of dirt… a yurt in the forest… or a 100 square foot tiny house. It’s just not going to happen, period – and I can’t blame them at all for not wanting to do so. So instead of major changes like these, we need to start smaller by fixing some of the behaviors that take place every second of every minute of every day. Let’s take a look at a two common ways that some make a mess of the very planet we all call home:
- Throwing cigarette butts out of car windows or onto the sidewalk. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, but why toss them on the street? I doubt a smoker would drop cigarette butts on the floor of their own house, so why throw them on the floor of everyone’s house?
- Putting recyclables in trash cans. Most communities at least recycle paper, plastic and aluminum, so why do so many people just combine them all in the trash to be buried in a landfill somewhere for millennia? It takes no more effort to put trash in the trash bin and recyclables in the recycling bin, yet there are a ton of people who cannot be bothered. Think they would mind if I walked over to their lawn and dumped my recyclables there to let them decompose until the year 2300? Probably, so maybe they should stop putting theirs on everyone else’s front yard.
While not everyone can be convinced to drive a smaller car, to buy organic foods, or to use safter cosmetics, maybe they can be convinced to at least start cleaning up after themselves. After all, most of us learned that as children yet don’t carry it over to adulthood. So use an ashtray, recycle recyclables, dispose of toxic chemicals correctly, get your car emissions checked, and think a little farther down the chain than your own property line.
I dont care if you (ahem) “go green” or hug a tree or whatever – just clean up after yourself like your parents asked you to do all those years ago. It benefits everyone and requires zero effort.
Spread the word.
Photo by emilydickinsonridesabmx