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I was out for a walk on a beautiful Fall morning and as I was admiring the fallen leaves placed in piles carefully and in compliance at the end of suburban homes’ driveways, I began to notice various forms of plastic sticking out of the leaf piles. I picked up a few larger pieces such as a plastic bottle, packaging, an aluminum can. Then, I found a plastic bag, placed the items in the bag and continued to find plastic as if I were on a treasure hunt.
Walking for me has always been a combination of exercise physically, getting fresh air but also very meditative and refreshing to my mind. With a career in technology sales, most of my time is spent at the computer, on the phone, traveling to my customers and in conference rooms. My job inspires and energizes me and the time I spend in nature allows me to transform seeds of thought into plants. Some may call this a type of meditation or allowing space in my mind which feeds my thought process. Nature and walking have always provided me the perfect environment to play with my thoughts and create something I can work with, whether it is a presentation I am working on or a relationship I am developing with someone.
Back to picking up plastic…as I walked I could not pass a piece without picking it up. Our reality today is that our human habits of manufacturing, buying, using and getting rid of plastic are at war with our natural habitat. There are 8 million metric tons of plastic that enter the ocean every year as reported by the National Ocean Services (NOAA’s National Ocean Service). Turtles and other marine life cannot distinguish plastic from their native food, such as jellyfish, and they are dying at an unprecedented rate.
As much as I felt like I was making an impact locally, I started to think about the other neighborhoods that are adjacent to me and what those streets must look like. What if someone a few streets over could do this same thing in their neighborhood, and so on? What if everyone picked up and recycled just one piece of plastic a day? Do all people care enough to do this to serve the earth as it has served us?
Last time I was in NYC I picked up a discarded strand of fuchsia pink plastic ribbon, probably from someone’s gift wrapping or perhaps part of a balloon or even a hair decoration. Except this time, I didn’t recycle it. I put it in my coat pocket as reminder to myself to help the earth one piece at a time. My hope is that maybe someone has seen me picking up plastic in my neighborhood or in NYC and will do it the next time they see plastic in the street.
I believe it’s possible for this seed of an idea to grow into a beautiful plant.
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