Cleaning Up Our Home

April 22 is Earth Day, the annual event when we’re reminded to think about where we live. Not our town or even our country, but Planet Earth.

Outdoor celebrations and political speeches all have their place, but the message we should have taken to heart by now, more than three decades after the first Earth Day, is that caring for the only home we have is not something we can do just one day a year.

Many of us have incorporated earth-saving measures into our daily lives. And much of that change involves simple things close to home – using a cloth bag rather than plastic or paper when you shop for groceries, recycling and composting to minimize the trash going into landfills, caring for a garden – perhaps organically – to provide fresh and local food, and remembering to turn off lights and appliances when not in use.

How about marking the occasion this year by taking part in one of the many litter collection efforts going on in town.

Litter is ugly, disrespectful, and illegal, and it detracts from our surroundings. And now that the snowbanks are fast becoming a distant memory, the detritus of winter is visible along our roadsides and in our ditches and our woodlands.

Most communities have roadside cleanups scheduled, and bags available to fill and leave along the street for town crews to collect. In Londonderry, ALAC – the Anti Litter Advisory Committee – is in the midst of three weekends of its Roadside Pride III campaign for litter pickup, to be followed soon after by Beautify Londonderry. The Beaver Lake Improvement Association was out last Saturday to clean up the Derry lake’s roadsides. Hampstead’s town cleanup is Saturday, and the local Conservation Commission will be offering free seedlings as well as all the items needed to collect trash.

If we all were to spend a little time picking up litter and keeping our neighborhood tidy, our towns would really be prettier places.

It’s time to take advantage of the warmer weather, the blue skies, and the coming of Earth Day to head outdoors and spruce up the neighborhood.

Accomplishing something like this, as small as it is, adds up to far more than attending a rally on Earth Day can accomplish. And that’s really what all the Earth Day celebrations are about – making such reminders unnecessary because they’ve already become part of our daily lives.

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