I have decided to share with you some of the extremely small habits and decisions we make to be more conscious of our green impact. Here’s an introduction with the rationale and this is the first post in the series – about cleaning the woods during a daily walk. With spring making long walks in the woods possible this seems like a reasonable story to start with.
When in school, around Earth Day every year we were taken to the woods nearby to pick up trash left by careless walkers. I must say I never minded it and, in fact, enjoyed the chance to leave the school desk and go for a walk. Now, knowing how I forgot most of the dates and chemical formulas they tried to teach me, I actually think children should spend a part of their school day outside every day, ideally doing something useful like that. I’m not a school legislator and will not make that happen but about two years ago for Earth Day we rekindled this school tradition privately.
We live near a forest and we go there almost daily so during our walk with J (then a baby in a pram) we took a bunch of old plastic bags, rubber gloves and picked up all the trash we could find along the way: all the beer bottles, candy wrappers and such. We segregated it into different bags so that when we got back we just threw thtem into the right containers. The pram came in handy because we didn’t even have to carry the bags, we just hanged them around the handle.
Why do it:
Because it’s better than helplessly grumbling against all the people who leave that trash in the woods. You stop the trash from polluting the forest and prevent the animals from eating it. As a bonus, you conduct hands-on research into the peculiarities of human behavior (we found a pregnancy test packaging and an empty bread bag, among other things).
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It literally costs nothing if you repurpose bags (actually you’re bound to find some bags in the woods).
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(Probably three stars if you’re very squeamish but as a reasonably squeamish person myself I must say it is actually quite painless.)
✤ We don’t do it as often as we might because it’s a bit of hassle to remember the gloves and the bags and you have to carry them all the way, of course.
✤ You literally look like a bag lady. Of course, it might be easier (if slower) to only take one bag and segregate it later or, well, not at all?
✤ Sometimes you can’t help the resentment building against your fellow human beings when you see how careless and lazy they are. But once you start paying attention, you also realize that lots of people must be doing the cleaning because there’s actually not a whole lot of trash and it disappears regularly.