Posts Tagged ‘Great Depression’

Earth Day should never end

April 27, 2009

It amazes me that the hype surrounding Earth Day dies off so quickly when it should be part of our lifestyle.

I can recall exactly what I was doing leading up to the first Earth Day in 1970. As a freshman in high school, I was leading a corps of students in an aluminum can drive. We walked the back roads of Sussex County picking up thousands of cans, filling up my backyard to overflowing.

The good news is, because of the price of aluminum, it’s hard to find cans on the roads and byways today.

That activity on the first Earth Day ignited a fire in me about the importance of protecting and enjoying the environment that has never burned out.

It’s a sad state of affairs, but most people do little or nothing when it comes to protecting Mother Earth.

In my neighborhood, about 10 percent of the residents participate in the Delaware Recycles curbside pick-up program, which is close to the statewide participation number. Most of the people I know, even though I try to lead by example, do not recycle or reuse, which is the foundation of any move to green.

Why? Money and inconvenience. Living in a throw-away society, most people are not brought up to reuse or recycle and to do so would require a major shift in routine. Secondly, there is no money in it – at least not much. When recycling puts serious money in people’s wallets, you will see that participation number jump like a Mexican jumping bean.

It’s not always been that way. My dear grandmother lived through the Great Depression and World War II years. Through necessity, her family recycled and reused just about everything. For her entire life, she saved scraps of aluminum foil, leftover food and jars – just about everything.

We have moved so far in the opposite direction, we may have gone beyond the point of no return.

But, there is some good news, and it’s on The Circle. County government has started an aggressive recycling program – with help from the public that uses the recycling center. In March, more than 20,000 pounds of material destined for the landfill was diverted, collected at county offices and recycled.

The county is doing its part – keeping about 100 tons of material out of the landfill each year.