When I was with the boy scouts and we’d go camping (it seemed like we camped a lot) the first rule was we had to leave the campsite better than we found it. In college, every year it seemed I moved to a new apartment. When we left we’d always spend a lot of time cleaning the unit; 1. To get the deposit back and 2. Because it was the right thing to do. I’m hearing more and more that this isn’t the norm anymore. People just leave without cleaning or even taking all their stuff. I think about this when I leave somewhere … who is going to clean up after me? Not that I am going to bus my own table at a restaurant (because I would break things) but just in general - if someone isn’t hired specifically to pick up after me, then I should probably clean up my own mess (because it’s the right thing to do).
We had a presentation on our “carbon footprint” today. Should it be our responsibility to leave the world better than we found it? I kind of think, yes. In this I look at the waste and mess I generate daily (hourly). Do I really need a paper cup or plate when I can use a washable plate or a ceramic cup? Do I need to copy off all the pages of a presentation or would a double sided copy with only the pages I need do and do I need my own copy or can I share? Can I reuse my plastic shopping bags and do I need them at all or can I bring my own canvas bags.
The news has been reporting lately about the state of our oceans and the massive amount of plastic waste that floats around in it. It makes me sad to see that humans and our waste are literally and actively killing our oceans. I’m thinking about how my behavior affects this as well. I throw a ton of stuff away. My carbon footprint is huge. I might make my bed and clean my mess but is that the entire equation? Am I true to my old boy scout rule of leaving my “campsite” better when I leave? I don’t think so but a new goal is to figure out how to be a better citizen of the environment. Both clean up my mess and minimize the waste.