You don’t really notice it until you leave but growing up in the Great NW you see that Mother Earth has always been something in the forefront of our minds here. My parents made sure we spent time in nature, we had a garden (and played with the snakes in it), we know what it is like to hike in the old growth forest, build a fire, compost the yard clippings and of course recycle.
In school recycling was the new hot thing to do (or that’s what us kids thought). Each room was equipped with its own containers (green mesh bag for colored paper and white for white- duh) , a place for plastic and the less popular aluminum…..I don’t know about you but we didn’t bring soda in our school lunches, it was juice boxes all the way. Recycling was everywhere, we’d use recycled paper scraps to make new art projects, we learned songs about ways to save the Earth in music class, and we’d go out into the playground and surrounding park to pick up trash and recyclables to make our school that much better. So as you can see, like I said, it is in my blood to recycle (of course I think it is in every Oregonians).
When my dad was helping me move out several years ago we went out to toss some boxes in the yellow recycling bin – It is still hard for me to talk about what we saw in there – what my new roommate left in there…. In the garbage can there were fully assembled boxes with Styrofoam. As a side note – styrofoam hurts my heart, when we go down south to see family and get that lovely lovely sweet tea it ALWAYS comes in styrofoam cups and while the Oregonian in me wants to decline the cup the southerner in me needs the iced tea, but I digress) Back to what i saw IN THE GARBAGE! In a tone I can only describe as hurt and shocked my dad looked at me straight faced and said somberly “Are you sure you want to live with this girl?”
The funny thing is I wouldn’t even call myself, or family for that matter, any sort of tree hugger. There are just some simple rules everyone should live by.
- Recycle everything you can.
- Compost – not only yard debris but also food scraps
- Don’t litter, no matter how small the gum wrapper folds up its still gonna end up somewhere.
- If you have an oil leak in your vehicle fix it!
- Dispose of appliances properly – you might even get a cash incentive.
- Don’t dump anything down the sewer drains (they lead to the ocean…and who wants to eat tainted Salmon?!)
- Cut up all plastic things that hold soda/ juice can’s together. No joke, you will save a dolphin, or a bird, or an otter.
I encourage you not only today, but everyday make choices that will help us keep our home beautiful and help educate the next generation so they will have the opportunity to sit in the shade of an oak tree, swim in the clear waters of our lakes and feel the grass between their toes…. and in the words of a man I love dearly – Jack Johnson “Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle”.