When we were in Dubrovnik, Croatia – which we've waxed rhapsodic about multiple times here – there isone thing that really bothered us. See, we're not totally biased.
Our hotel was right on the shore of an inlet packed with boats and bursting with beauty. A setting right out of a postcard. No exaggeration.
Walking along that shore multiple times during our stay in Dubrovnik, we were disheartened by the amount of garbage we saw around the boats and near the shore. Plastic bottles, food scraps, paper, you name it. It was significant enough to where – close up – it spoiled the gorgeous setting.
Fast forward to our recent road trip where we nature-overloaded our way from Nevada to Colorado and back. We call our summertime outdoor adventures advo-camping because we usually like to roll in some sort of advocacy element. This year, in honor of our 5 years of NVR, we're trying to bring it by going beyond our regular advocacy platform and working to be better citizens of our community and our country.
So, based on our experience in Croatia, our love for our National Parks and our new goal, the bolstered advocacy piece was easy to decide on. We challenged ourselves to pick up litter around all the campgrounds, rest stops and hiking trails we hit.
It was actually simple. We even brought a roll of garbage bags from home to facilitate our mission and to keep us from putting up roadblocks.
We were most disheartened by the amount of trash that was intentionally left on the ground, oftentimes not far from a trash bin. What?
Seeing all that trash – and thinking about how easy it was to pick it up – got us thinking of ways to keep our anti-trash enthusiasm alive back in Seattle. Enter hometown company, Starbucks, and their annual effort to bring community members together to clean up the areas of the city that are most trampled on by fireworks spectators.
We figured what the heck and decided to bond with other litter busters.
After signing in and scoping out the area (and joking around a bit), we set out – in our crisp new shirts/uniforms – to uncover trash around Lake Union.
And then came the harsh reality. As had been the case during our road trip, we found clumps of trash all over the place.
We were surprised, disgusted and very glad that we decided to participate. Clearly, there is a need.
Our world is simply too beautiful and too important to abuse it by being mindless when it comes to trash.
Let's keep our communities and countries clean. A few ideas if you'd like to get involved.
1) Once a week or once a month, commit to bringing a garbage bag on a walk or outing. Fill it!
2) Join a community initiative. We are impressed by the work Starbucks is doing to spark community involvement, and this event was a great experience for everyone we talked to. Plus, bonding with other like-minded people serves to bolster your enthusiasm, and it sends a strong message to passers-by. Check out what Starbucks – or another organization – is up to in your hood.
3) Be aware of what you use/buy because it eventually turns into trash. Do you really need another plastic water bottle? Do you really need the bag when you pick up a couple items at a retailer?