[Image description: A black chalkboard background. A stick figure person is throwing an abstract piece of trash into a trash basket.]
My kids and I have recently started taking walks in the afternoon. It’s not ideal in the heat of the day, but we can’t seem to make it out at any earlier or later. My oldest is also such a homebody that getting her to cross our threshold is like pulling teeth. The compromise is that we do two brisk walks around our block and she gets to push the baby in the stroller (I walk the dogs if it isn’t scorching hot out).
On one of our first walks, though, I noticed a bit of trash blowing around in the gutters. Around the same time I saw a zero waste post on Instagram that showed a storm drain clogged with garbage and a note about how the water drains into local oceans. I put two and two together and remembered that our storm drains empty into out local streams and rivers. In fact we’ve had plaques above each drain that says “No Dumping! I drain into the river” or something to that effect with a picture of a fish.
So I used this as a learning opportunity. I pointed out the plaque and talked to her about what that meant. Then I pointed out some of the trash we were seeing lying around (there’s a surprising amount of trash in our street) and asked her if she thought maybe we should help our community and ecosystem out by picking up the trash and making sure it makes it into a garbage can instead of the river. My kid was mostly on board, but we put together a little trash pick up kit that includes a reused bread bag and a bottle of hand sanitizer (we’re out with a three month old baby, I’m not picking up trash and then touching them without at least attempting to clean my hands up).
Now when we go out we pick up the bits of garbage we see lying around- broken plastic cups, random pieces of paper, napkins, etc.