On Saturday morning, Gail and the boys and I went over to the school with some garbage bags and spent an hour and a half picking up litter from the parking lot and gardens in front of the school. We filled three garbage bags in an hour and a half which was very satisfying but at the same time, cleaning up things like a tampon (unused), a condom (didn’t bother to check if it was used), hundreds of cigarette butts and some broken beer bottles from in front of an elementary school was quite sad. We didn’t do this specifically for Earth Day; we did the same thing last year on a walking trail near us.
The City of Toronto sponsored a bit anti-litter campaign for Earth Day as well. Yesterday, our friends Liisa and Richard and their kids came over and we went for a walk through our neighbourhood. We passed by a bunch of people doing the same thing in the creek; seems a local church had organized a big cleanup for Earth Day.
It hadn’t occurred to me until Richard mentioned it, but he’s right — when did Earth Day become nothing more than “litter cleanup day”? Originally, I thought it was about increasing public awareness on energy conservation, vanishing rainforests, endangered species, and larger environmental issues like that. I’m all for cleaning up litter, but it seems that people are thinking “I can’t do anything about the rainforests, but I can pick up this pop can”, and that they’ve done all they can do. I thought the whole idea of Earth Day was to convince people that cleaning up litter isn’t all they can do.