Let me give you an example of what I had to edit out of the most recent issue of “Litterland”. Readers, I’m sure, would be interested to know that under the shadow of a potential polystyrene packaging ban one hundred restaurants in New York City took part in a waste reduction challenge last Tuesday. Let’s hope NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg is more successful banning foam than he was with super sized soft drinks.
The idea of product bans has floated over to Portland, Maine where a city committee will be considering curtailment measures for polystyrene and plastic bags on June 19th. Portland has a green packaging task force, whose recommendations carried by a vote of xx to 6. Maybe every city should have a green packaging task force.
In the precious space of my precious newsletter, I wasn’t able to tell you about the mindfulness mindset among the folks of Tipperary, Ireland. The impact of litter on people with disabilities is the focus of bold, front-running, initiative there called “My Litter, My Responsibility.”
And in Louisiana, USA, the state awarded Baton Rouge an honour for having trained the most teachers in the state to take the anti-litter message to their classrooms. One can never underestimate the importance of the classroom as the place to nip littering in the bud. Young children are attuned to the idea that littering is wrong, but need education and training to put the information into lifelong practice and influence others.
Environmental educators ask students to make choices that result in no litter like packing lunches in all-reusable containers, eating “in” not “out”, using a personal water bottle, not purchasing as many packaged goods. These are laudable goals and I live by them. But consumerism is a potent force that makes it tempting for children and their parents to opt for convenience above all. Kids are kids, and have you seen any schoolyard lately?
Yes, to not litter may require an alteration to lifestyle. Part of the training is simply to not toss or throw waste items. Brain-to-hand coordination. Most humans have the skill, but society has failed to instill the will. A study this year by Barclay’s Living Lands found that 9 out of 10 parents who tell children not to litter forget to mention that littering harms the environment. And half of those moms and dads have littered in the presence of these children despite espousing it’s wrong to do so. Sounds like an addiction, doesn’t it? Like a smoking parent telling a child never to smoke.
In Worcester, UK they don’t believe in pussyfooting. If football teams continue to litter city-controlled sports fields they could be nullified from qualifying for team pitch-for-hire agreements if the city's clean/green councillor has his way. Play by the rules or you don’t play here at all. Brilliant!
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