Heartwarming reasons I pick up litter knowing it alone won’t fix the world’s problems overnight.

December 11, 2021 by Joshua
in Leadership, Nature, Stories

Picking up litter has its joys.

A friend wrote about our meeting, in which we walked around Washington Square Park and picked up litter, also talking business.

The meeting certainly was inspirational and I think back to it every time I see a piece of trash on the ground. So, you certainly made a difference in my life. I always tried to pick before, but now I make it a point. And every person counts, right? My routine dog walk was completely clear of debris this morning, which I feel is a fantastic accomplishment considering my route goes through an elementary and middle school parking lot! Since I haven’t been here for a week, maybe someone saw my and also decided to take up this practice.

Another work friend talked about his young daughter. He saw her picking up litter. He congratulated her and asked how she happened to do it. She said, “Because you do, daddy!” He does in part because when he and I met, I suggested in the park, where along with our work meeting, we picked up litter.

I can’t tell you how heartwarming it is to hear that joy, if that’s the right word, in what cleans our world instead of the helpless complaining most people share. I can’t wait until everyone catches on to similar habits instead of saying if any one thing doesn’t fix everything in the world there’s no point in doing it. I feel like I live in a world where people wouldn’t change a baby’s diaper because it won’t solve infant mortality globally and the baby is just going to poop in the clean diaper anyway.

On a related note, here’s part of an email from another reader, about my post 538: How much should I reduce my pollution? How many slaves should Thomas Jefferson have freed?. I’m not sure where she’ll end up, but reconsidering flying and her life seems significant.

Very convincing podcast. I’m reconsidering my entire life. There is no way to get to India except for taking train travel and several boat trips. It will take me at least 1 month to get there. I’m considering it. It would be a true adventure. I would also have to consider staying for a longer time because my journey is going to take so long and also be very expensive. The problem is that the amount of fuel I would expend over the time of a month–especially in ship travel–would be very close to the fuel that I would expend in a jet.

Then today I picked up what I thought would be an empty coffee container. Instead it had in it the discarded contents of someone’s wallet. From the IDs, I found and emailed the owner online, whose wallet had been lost or stolen. I returned them. She was happy.

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