Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Saving the Planet, One Butt at a Time

Ever since I was young, I have been supremely worried that the world is falling apart and that we're not doing enough to take care of it while we can. And while back then I would have said that I wanted to "save the planet" when I grew up, the truth is that it's hard to quantify how you're going to save the planet. I mean, there's no formula that says "When you do X (or spend X hours doing Y), the world will be saved!" So I've always just done my best to not throw excess crap into landfills, recycle anything I can and try not to be wasteful.

This weekend, I finally felt like I was actually doing something to make a dent in this mess of a planet.

I got an e-mail a few weeks ago asking for volunteers to help a local organization, Keep Brazos Beautiful, by helping keeping the streets clean at the annual Texas Reds Steak and Grape festival (which Matt and I attended last year). I jumped at the chance.

I had never done a trash pick-up before. I remember my Girl Scout troop did one back when I was like, 7 or 8, but for some reason I didn't participate, and I always kind of wished that I had. So last weekend, I pulled on my blue volunteer T-shirt, drowned myself in sunscreen, and grabbed a claw-picker-upper thing and a trash bag from the Keep Brazos Beautiful office. Then we hit the streets of Downtown Bryan. (That's the sister city of College Station.)

Brazos is the name of our county, and we are also considered to be located in Brazos Valley.

Our shift was four hours, and it rained hard twice in that time frame, so we didn't actually get to spend the whole time cleaning up. I was looking for something weird or unusual to claw — since picking cigarette butts out of sidewalk cracks doesn't make that great a story — but didn't manage to find anything strange.

But I can say that because of the people I volunteered with, there are now significantly fewer cigarette butts (and other pieces of refuse) littering our streets. And I'm proud to have been part of that.

So I guess the moral of the story is ... dude, please don't litter.

Have you ever participated in a trash pick-up? Were you a Girl Scout?


  1. Honestly, I am amazed at the amount of litter I see on the streets. I don't understand what is so difficult about holding onto your piece of trash for five more minutes until you see a trash can!

  2. We picked up trash as a service project as our law school orientation and just as we finished, the guys in charge of us told us there was poison ivy all over where we were picking stuff up. I spent the rest of the weekend waiting to see if I was going to break out.

    1. That sucks they didn't tell you sooner! Did you get it?

  3. The island where my family lives and where I used to live has a lot of problems with litter and pollution, so my youth group and my brother's boy scout troop periodically had trash pick up days for certain beaches or park areas--afterwards you can tell what a big difference was made!