I’ve started cleaning the streets. And no, I’m not being forced to under some sort of community service for crimes committed. The truth is I’m just so tired of seeing the growing litter problem around my local estate, and I’m tired of the way it makes me feel. It’s a sorry sight to see and its leaves me with a feeling of sadness and annoyance. It upsets me when my desire is to be surrounded by a clean and attractive environment.
Our local council, like any other in the UK at the moment, is cutting back on what they consider to be non-essential services. One of these is obviously employing litter pickers to clear the streets. It’s funny isn’t it? It’s not until a service like that disappears that you really notice it was there at all. In my area, the bin men who collect the weekly/fortnightly household waste are not obliged to also pick up the litter from the street (not even if this rubbish has come from bags that have broken open when they’ve picked them up). I guess their job is already quite difficult, and perhaps they have a limited time in which to get everything done. This didn’t used to matter, because the litter pickers and street sweepers would do the excellent job of clearing the worst of it up. Without them, the litter just stays there…getting added to week by week.
At first, I did the same as everyone else around here (at least the ones who’d even noticed). I whinged. I complained loudly about the fact that our council tax is going up yet our services are being reduced. I made myself miserable every time I left the house to walk around my neighbourhood. I sounded like my mum.
Then slowly it dawn on me. Whining wasn’t going to clear the litter away. Strangely, no matter how much I whined, I would go to bed at night and when I got up the following morning the litter was still there….wierd that.
True, the council may or may not be mismanaging our money…..but that’s not something that I can immediately do anything about.What I could do… was pick up the litter.
Just pick it up. Just pick the bloody stuff up!
So I do. I bought myself one of those round plastic contraptions that keeps your black rubbish bag open and a good pair of gloves and a few days a week I spend an hour walking and litter picking. And it makes me happy 🙂
It also got me thinking. Should we, each and every one of us, do our small bit? How would it change my local neighborhood if those that could…..just did. What if a reasonable percentage of those who live on my estate, those who had a spare hour or two, those who didn’t fall into the category of too young, elderly or disabled, also picked up a black bags worth of litter once or twice a week?
I remembered something from my old political days (Don’t hate me) Something called environmental stewardship. This is a theological belief that humans are responsible for the world, and should take care of it.
Most of us can’t individually influence governments, enable world peace, clean up the oceans, stop the decimation of the rain forest. But we can open our front doors and look a lot closer to home for opportunities to make a difference. We can pick some litter up….can’t we?
As small as this contribution may seem…..if we are truly all one, joined together by our desire to live in a better world, then all of these small contributions should also join together to make a big difference.
I believe in social responsibility. I’d like to see everyone have a desire to get involved and to contribute to their community, to society and to others in general.
Every one of us knows how we would like to see our world. The question is, can we all stop whinging and passing the blame long enough to act with enough courage and compassion to ‘be the change we want to see in the world’….in our neighborhood….in our street?