I was shocked by the state of the trails we frequented as a family.
The creek bed was covered in trash.
Plastic bags were tangled in exposed tree roots.
Glass bottles lay half-buried in the sand.
Frayed tarps flapped in the wind.
What could’ve been a beautiful place was, instead, covered in garbage.
It was heartwarming to see my kids’ reactions. “Why do people leave so much trash lying around?” they fumed. “We need to clean this place up!” We made plans to buy plastic gloves and come back with trash bags to gather up what others had left behind.
But there’s something rather disheartening about the whole thing.
Our clean-ups will only be a bandaid on a ruptured artery.
This is our favorite local nature spot. It features a flowing creek, trails through a lush forest, and sweeping grasslands. Unfortunately, just up the road is a land-fill. Anytime there’s a particularly gusty day, trash escapes and floats downwind. And given the number of windy days we experience here in Oklahoma, it feels like fighting a losing battle!
But THIS is our turf. And my particular position as a mother who frequents the trails presents me with a specific role to play in the preservation of our favorite outdoor adventure locations!
Reflection has led me to identify 3 ways I can take ownership of caring for the earth.
- Clean Up!
- Minimize Waste
It will look different for all of us. But if we each take the time to find our own areas of ownership, we can care for and preserve our natural spaces for generations to come!