I’ve lived in Charlottesville, VA for about 3 1/2 years, and most people that live here, have gone to school at University of Virginia, or have visited find that this is a really pretty city. I agree, but I must say, it’s also pretty trashy! And I mean that in a literal sense. There is a lot of litter here, everywhere: trash, broken bottles, food, dog poop. And it’s on the downtown mall and public sidewalks where people walk, run, bike with their kids, or push their babies in strollers. I’m ashamed and embarrassed about it, annoyed, and quite frankly, confused. In this day and age where the environmental and sustainability messages dominate the print and airwaves, who litters? Who purposely rolls down their window and throws out their McDonald’s bag, or tosses their beer bottle on the sidewalk, or allows their dog to do their business without picking it up? Who is that unconscious?
I’m a Texan—one of the obnoxiously proud ones—and love the phrase we coined in the 1980s, “Don’t Mess With Texas.” It became the anti-littering campaign for the state, but it also started a movement, giving rise to a new consciousness about what it means to not trash our state, our neighborhood, our country, our planet. And that was over 25 years ago, before “green” became the most common word in the English language. Read more