Good stewardship 101

Published 4:39 pm Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I make a 45-minute drive every morning to get to work and another one to get home at night. On my way in, I always enjoy crossing the bridge on 264 — from there to Suffolk is fairly picturesque. The trees on both sides of the road are a welcome change of scenery from the concrete and buildings.

One morning a few weeks back, I was on my way to work and noticed little white patches lying in the median, interspersed at the foot of the trees. I got excited because I’d written an update about snow the previous day. It was my second story about cold and snowy weather, and the first one I wrote made me look like the new girl in town (which I am) for believing the meteorologists at the National Weather Service.

As I looked closer, though, I realized the patches weren’t just white. They were brown, yellow, red and every other color under the sun intermingled. It took me a minute before I realized my mistake.

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It wasn’t snow. It was trash.

I still looked like a fool the second time around – doubly so to anyone I’ve told this story to.

It’s not that I’m not used to seeing litter – just not so much of it. The amount of trash lining the median made it appear to have snowed the night before, and little patches that had hidden in the shadows of the trees hadn’t melted.

I now notice the abundance of litter — particularly on 58 — every single time I’m driving during daylight. It’s good to see the orange bags lining the highway, but I’m always surprised how fast the litter accumulates again.

Now, I’ve never been particularly “green” person, but I don’t exactly consider properly disposing of trash a matter of being green. It’s just common sense and showing an ounce of respect for other people with whom we share the community.

We can’t think, “It’s just one piece of trash.” If we all thought that way, we wouldn’t be able to see the trees anymore; the trash would be piled so high. So, please just take a moment to consider the impact your actions have on the surrounding environment.

We need to have a starting point. It doesn’t have to be solar panels or a perfectly energy efficient house. Simply keeping the trash in your car until you reach a trash or recycling container would make a huge difference for Suffolk’s roads.