you read about my coast-to-coast bicycle trip across America during the summer
of 2010: “How we trashed an entire continent in 150 years.” I also wrote about our cities growing out of
control and beyond human dignity. Despite
that story, I wrote about the infinite beauty across this amazing North
American continent. The magic of
Yosemite, High Sierra, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Petrified
Forest, Mississippi River and so much more!
Everyone living in North America enjoys many blessings on multiple
readers responded with e-mails lamenting America’s current conditions on many
fronts. But the trash situation upset
them! Some felt hopeless while others scowled
with anger. Still others said, “What can we do?”
great deal at the personal, local and state levels! You can band together in groups to create
solutions and implement them. You may
organize high schools, Rotary Clubs, Lions and other civic organizations to
make change for the better. From all
your letters, you might enjoy this short paragraph to give you some
a country which employs the principles of personal responsibility and
accountability for future generations. Everything you do-counts! If you do nothing, that counts likewise. When
you read sobering information, do you want to give up? Or, do you want to
Thomas Jefferson, Betsy Ross, Ben Franklin, George and
Washington, John and
Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Dr.
Martin Luther King, Oprah, Barbara
Jordan, John Muir and other Americans. You represent the Jefferson’s, Oprah’s
and Dr. King’s of the 21st century.
Consider it your honor and privilege to become a part of the
solutions. Engage the present to change
the future! Become an agent of the change you wish to see.” FW
in Golden, Colorado, I watched a painful video program showing the amount of
plastic and other trash generated by this country every month. Americans toss, flip, discard and disregard eight
out of ten plastic, aluminum and glass water, soda, liquor and beer containers—into
lakes, streams, rivers, oceans, parking lots, play grounds, streets, dumps and
wilderness—without so much as a blink of concern for their actions.
Winfrey produced a show that explored what happened to all the plastic: she revealed
the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” a 3.0 million ton floating island of plastic
debris 60 to 90 feet deep, greater than the size of Texas—1,000 miles off San
Francisco. She noted that humans around
the planet add another 2.5 million plastic containers every hour 24/7 to that
GPGP! Additionally, oceanographers
reported that that 46,000 pieces of plastic float on EVERY square mile of our
oceans around the planet. (
Google: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch for movies
of it and figures. It exists on every ocean to varying and growing degrees.)
kills millions of sea birds, turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks and other marine
life in numerous ways—strangulation, in-gestation, stopped-up-bowels and
worse. Millions of plastic bags stuff up
the intestines of whales and dolphins—killing countless numbers. It disrupts eco-systems like reefs, the ocean
bottom and more. As a Scuba diver for 47 years, I witnessed our pristine
oceans transform into a junkyard of plastic, metal, tire and other human flotsam. I have stood knee deep in plastic trash on
beaches around the world on six continents.
Here in the
USA, we discard and toss enough glass, cans and plastic to fill up two Empire
State Buildings every two weeks. Consequently, the U.S. ‘carbon footprint’ cost to Mother
Earth and devouring of natural resources—plus more production of containers
explodes beyond comprehension.
scant 27 percent of Americans recycle cans, glass and plastics! But in places like the great State of
Michigan, where they passed a 10 cent deposit/return law 20 years ago, you won’t
see a single container discarded anywhere!
Why? No matter who tosses their
containers, an army of kids snatches up every 10 cent container within moments!
in my State of Colorado, the pretend-environmentalist Peter Coors of Coors Beer
fame, spent millions to stop any container recycling laws from passing in 1974
and 1988. Why? More profit for him and more litter for us. When I personally approached him, he said, “Well,
it’s not that bad because it’s only an eight percent waste stream.” To that I replied, “Yeah, well, Pete, you
always tell viewers at Christmas to not ruin the High Country by not cutting a
tree, but then, as we all walk around the Back Country wilderness, your cans,
bottles and Coors beer boxes trash the environment.”
responded, “Well, we need more education and responsible citizens.” I replied, “Would a 10 cent deposit law work
much easier with an economic incentive like Michigan’s? Why don’t you take your $13 million annual
salary and hire trash-truck crews to scour the roads, lakes, streams and
parking lots to pick up the billions of containers that ultimately end up on
the land…you’ll put folks to work and do a good deed!”
No reply on
faced the same men of financial power in your state and that’s why only seven
states enjoy .05 cent deposit/return laws.
Their only motivator: money, power, greed! Coors exemplifies a classic example of denial
and complicity in long term negative impact.
like Coors can be overcome with persistent stubbornness that grows stubbornly
persistent. In a sermon last Sunday, my
minister said, “You may incorporate B-H-A-G’s! Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goals!
Our country desperately
needs to end plastic bags flooding out of super markets and mercantile stores.
We need to mandate cotton reusable bags: several of mine maintain their worth after 29
years of use! We need 10 cent
deposit/return laws on ALL of our containers: we cannot continue as the most
wasteful nation in the world as we gloat of our humanitarianism in the same
breath. Yes, you will face Peter Coors “Robber
Barons” in your own state, but, hey, if Michigan succeeded, so can you.
web sites and clubs to pass a 10 cent deposit/return law in your state. Move at
the state level to stop the use of
plastic bags. Advance toward recycling
everything that can be recycled. It’s
up to you, your kids and your community.
Be a leader or follower, but get involved! Additionally, how can BHAG’s become a part of
every aspect of your personal and planetary life that longs for transformation. Inspired?
If you need
further information for sites in your area: World Environmental Organization--
up to you to create your own BIG, HAIRY, AUDACIOUS GOALS! And so it is!