This I Believe

Tricia - Carrollton, Texas
Entered on August 19, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
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KERA’s This I Believe: A Clean Mother Nature

I believe it is time to take responsibility for my part in cleaning up the earth, the heavenly body I call home. For years I’ve listened to news stories reporting damages to the environment by big businesses, but I didn’t see a direct connection to me until this week.

I cleaned our daughter’s room and drove a load of broken trinkets to our local dump. Entering I was given instructions to drive ½ mile down a flat dirt road before unloading. Around the first turn I was suddenly in a valley surrounded by piles of debris with bits of torn papers flapping out of the stacks giving the appearance of mold. I couldn’t see out of the area, all I saw was junk around me and in the distance bull dozers bursting plastic bags full of more junk. After driving what seemed like a very long way I unloaded my trash feeling guilty for adding to the mess and afraid of being lost in it.

Arriving home I told my husband about all the trash that lay just over a hill we drove past every day. I told him it wasn’t even a hill; it was piled up trash. I said this is a place our children need to see to get the real picture of what garbage is because seeing our trash can and recycle bin at home everything looks neat and tidy.

I thought about how much an unspoiled landscape means to me. Each year our family takes trips to the mountains or sea because we want to be swallowed up by the beauty we see. In those moments I feel very connected to nature and at the same time I’m so awed by Mother Nature’s size I feel powerless.

Next I thought about how much I enjoy working in my yard, but my efforts rarely extend beyond my fence. Gone are my childhood days when neighbors were outside each day together, and the entire neighborhood acted as our collective yard.

The contrast of vacations and being at home came together. I could see the mess building up here at home silently encroaching on my vacation spots. Like one of my kid’s video games; my mess at home was one of many munching monsters closing in on Mother Nature.

Looking for ways to start doing my part I came across a couple of advertisements in our park and recreation center’s bulletin. Our city has annual trash pick up days and an annual Nature Fest that promotes awareness of wildlife, local native plants, and conversation topics. I added these events to my calendar. Then I volunteered to help our neighborhood association organize a clean-up day for the area behind our street.

A Native American Proverb says: “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” I am thankful for the wake-up call cleaning my daughter’s room provided. I want my children to know I did things to take care of their earth.