This I Believe

Kari - Centennial, Colorado
Entered on November 11, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

A Single Piece of Trash

I believe in the importance of preserving the environment. Since I was little, my mom has been an avid “environmentalist”. Littering was never tolerated, and she taught me to pick up all of my trash at an early age. My mom thinks it is unfortunate this skill has never been applied to my room. I thoroughly enjoy all of our family’s outdoor adventures, and it’s easy for me to see the beauty in nature. It hurts me to see people litter just for the heck of it, or destroy a beautiful landscape in order to turn a profit. To me, nature represents purity. Untouched by humans, it’s free and wild. Why people feel the need to interfere with its timeless beauty is beyond me. I believe being too lazy to discard your trash is disrespectful to those in society who would just like to live in a clean landscape that’s free from waste.

My mom and I have always enjoyed walking together. The one thing I never enjoyed about these walks was the fact that we had to collect every piece of trash we saw, some of which I would end up assigned to carry home. Being young and naïve, I did not understand why we had to pick up other people’s trash. It only got worse. Not only does my mom feel the need to collect trash, but she also will recycle everything that it is humanly possible to recycle. My mom developed a new habit where as we would drive around during our daily routine, if she saw a can on the side of the road, she would pull over the car and make me get out and grab it so we could bring it home to throw away. Generally, these cans were filled with brown goo I always ended up getting on my hands. This became a very embarrassing experience as I got older, and I would refuse to participate in this ritual. She ended up gradually giving up this habit, but continues to cart home handfuls of trash after walking the dog. Only recently have I realized why this is important. Every single can we picked up didn’t end up at the landfill, and was used to make something shiny and new. Untouched expanses of land did not have to be polluted in order to retrieve more resources. That’s one less piece of trash ruining the façade of our society. If everyone would do their part to clean up the environment, its natural beauty will be preserved for all of the generations to come, not just the next few. Hopefully people will come to realize this before it is too late, and this is why I believe in preserving the environment.