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Today... spend fifteen minutes picking up litter.
I happened to be traveling in Costa Rica this day. I wasn’t able to pick up trash continuously for 15 min but I made sure to go on a couple of walks for about 20 minutes or so and pick up trash. It felt good to help clean such a beautiful part of the world.
At first I went on a walk near the Holiday Inn and found plenty of trash on the street and in a little public garden. I was fascinated by the different types of trash I came across. I was annoyed at the cigarette trash because I feel like smokers, for some reason, don’t think that cigarettes are litter - like somehow their butts don’t count.
Anyway, we got in a van to drive out to the Rainforest where we would be staying at a University that teaches Sustainable Agriculture. We ended up going through San Jose, the capital. While we were driving though the streets, it was soooo dirty and it made me feel sad about the state we humans leave our beautiful world in.
When we arrived at the University, I went for another walk and found a beautiful stream and relieved it of some pieces of trash that were in it. At this point, I was in the rainforest and if felt like such a magical place. I was happy knowing I was, in a small way, helping maintain that beauty.
One of the things I noticed with the trash, is being grossed out with it being dirty. It’s like a part of me thinks its going to ‘get on me.’ As a result, I noticed that it prevented me from really just ‘getting in there’ and picking up trash.
No one noticed me really. Except a security guard who I spoke to in broken Spanish. I don’t thing he thought much about what I was doing because I was at an Eco University and that’s something probably normal there.
Yesterday, before this daily action came up, I had gone to the bank and noticed the parking lot was a mess. Today I woke up and this was the daily action. I knew the bank was where I needed to go. Picking up litter there made absolute sense. My finances have been a mess. I’ve gotten myself into debt that is way over my head. It seemed symbolic to ‘clean up my money situation,’ by cleaning up the bank’s parking lot.
It was cold and raining. I felt major resistance to doing this one. And the fact that it was raining brought up more resistance. But since I felt resistance, I knew it was good for me to push through it. I put on my raincoat, grabbed some rubber gloves, a garbage bag and headed to the bank.
When I first started, I put on the rubber gloves. They were powdered and the powder got all over my coat and I looked pretty messy. The more I tried to brush it off, the messier it looked. As people drove into the parking lot and saw me picking up litter, I got a lot of strange looks. I’m not even sure how to define them. I saw it as a sort of dismissal of the dirty woman picking up junk. Some of them didn’t acknowledge me at all.
All the litter in the parking lot was soggy. There were bank receipts, paper towels, newspaper, cigarette butts and packages, tooth picks, newspaper – all things carelessly tossed out. I felt judgment and disapproval of the people who had littered. Then let it go and just picked up the litter.
I continued until I had picked up all of the litter in the lot and even in the street next to the lot. (There I go overdo-ing it again,)
For me, this one was about accepting responsibility for the messes I’ve made. It’s easy to complain and be unhappy about a situation, but the reality is, you’ve got to take action and clean up your messes.