Trash Walking

disposables, keepers, treasures

Follow up, links, and a call to action.


First, a follow up to my last post.  Not exactly about litter, but something to think about.  After a week of saving wasted food, here’s what is in the bin in my fridge.  I changed the rules a bit, because I realized that it wasn’t fair to my son to single out his waste.  That the experiment would mean more to all of us if we kept all of our wasted food, to see how we fared as a family.  Not great, but not bad for a week.  He definitely doesn’t like this experiment, and  is doing a much better job of eating his lunches, which is how this experiment came about in the first place.  The two chicken nuggets weren’t Noel’s waste, my wife just cooked a few too many.  We saved them to eat the next day, but they ended up being knocked on the floor by accident, so went in to the bin.  In our house, we do usually follow the “ten second rule”, but these were covered in cat hair, so the rule went out the door.  The raisin bread was totally my doing.  I toasted them, then got doing something else, and they were stale in the toaster by the time I remembered them.  I’m going to continue to keep a wasted food bin in my fridge, and see if we can go an entire week, without any deposits to the bin.  Quite eye opening, really.  Probably another follow up coming.

On another note, back to trash walking.  I continue to pick up litter daily, some days as a dedicated trash walking exercise, and other days while I am out and about, I pick up at least three pieces.  There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t retrieve something.  I am becoming more aware of others doing the same thing, and am “liking” Facebook pages dedicated to the same idea as my humble attempt at cleaning up and educating.  The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is currently running a series on illegal dumping across our country.  Mind blowing and disgusting.  Here’s a link to the original story.  Follow their links to see a follow up story, as well as pictures sent from across Canada in response to it.

Canada is breathtaking in it’s beauty, I think we can all agree on that.  Trashing it is not only illegal, but unconscionable.  Thankfully there are many, many individuals and organizations out there who are tackling the problem of litter.  I have mentioned some of them in previous posts, and will do another post soon listing more.  In the meantime, here’s a Canadian group dedicated to cleaning the areas along the escarpment in Hamilton, Ontario.  Just down the highway from me, it is full of beautiful natural areas that are constantly being trashed.

Find other groups on social media, google “anti litter organizations” and you’ll come up with all kinds of information.  More importantly though, get out there and tackle the problem head on.  Pick litter up in your neighbourhood, get your family and friends involved too.  Talk about the problem and learn about initiatives where you live.  I’d love it if you’d post your litter pictures to my trash walking Facebook page.  Join me. Let’s do something together.  All it takes is to get started.

I’ll leave you with a few photos of what I’ve picked up recently, all from around the perimeter of my son’s school.

Happy Trash Walking all!


IMG01504-20141014-1521 IMG01505-20141014-1521 IMG01413-20141008-1522 IMG01405-20141006-1143

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A Thanksgiving Lesson (teaching my nine year old about food waste)

Besides my trash walking, I really am trying to live a greener life, and to teach my nine year old son Noel to do the same. I’ve made some pretty good strides overall, I think. I am a more conscious consumer, and he is too. He knows what the term “planned obsolescence” means, and understands why I really loathe SKYLANDERS. That’s a whole post on it’s own. Maybe some day.  Those who know me personally also know that Noel is a master at building toys from recycled materials.  A bit of a healthy obsession at the moment, and I love it, and that is also a whole other post.

But Noel wastes food with nary a thought, and it drives me crazy.  I really hate to waste food, for the obvious reasons and I want him to understand this, and to grow to hate wasting food too.  His excuse for school lunch is pretty much always the same. No time. While I do know that there really isn’t a lot of time to eat lunch at school, I don’t really buy this excuse, since he always has time for the snacks that are in his lunch kit. I’ve threatened not to send snacks, but worry that if I go that route,  he won’t eat anything all day at school.  I realized that ragging him about it each day was not doing either of us any good, so, I’m trying a wee experiment this week. I explained it to him, and started it yesterday.

Everything that Noel doesn’t eat during the day is going in to a plastic container which I’m storing in the fridge, and we are going to see how much is in there at the end of the week. He was not too happy about me putting his toast crusts in there yesterday morning, and guess what? He ate the crusts! Small victory? Maybe, maybe not. Here’s what came home from yesterday’s lunch.


Macaroni (KD to be exact.  If you aren’t from Canada, you won’t get this reference.  Don’t worry, it’s a Canadian thing). Weird, because he used to always eat a KD lunch right up. Maybe I gave him too much?   Maybe his tastes are changing? Either reason is fine, but I want him to tell me this so I know what to pack for him.  So I know what he will eat.  Anyway, I’ll take pics and post daily, and we’ll see if this new strategy works.

It is coming up to Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and more than anything, I want to instill in my son a sense of gratitude for all that we have in Canada.  For the most part, he gets it.  But I guess I hope that this experiment will drive it home a little bit more.

I wish you all a joyous and bountiful Thanksgiving, rich in love.  I am grateful that I live in Canada, and believe with all my heart that it is possible to heal the world with a little compassion and thought.



No Plans

Wow, it’s been a long time (31 days, to be exact) since I posted anything at all!  With school holidays almost over, I’ll have more time to write very soon.  Until then, just a short post tonight, a couple of pictures, and a few thoughts about each one.

My son Noel and I really had no plans for today, and although we made some phone calls and tried to drum up some fun, it became apparent that it was just going to be the two of us today.  One friend was off to the cottage, another at his grandparents’ home, another was under house arrest until his room was cleaned.  Noel was bummed, because he is nine now, and his friend time is increasingly becoming more interesting to him than time with his moms.  The life of an only child.  Determined to have a good day, though, I suggested we just go for a neighbourhood bike ride, and see what came of it.  Over to the school we went, hoping to find someone else there.  No one. But Noel had packed his new walkie talkies so we gave them a good workout.  While he enjoyed using the new climbers, I toured the school yard collecting the litter that has accumulated over the last six weeks.  We chatted over the radios, and perfected the art of saying “over” every time we finished a transmission, and “10-4” to confirm understanding of one another.  Quite fun!

I ended up with two bags of garbage, one bag of recyclable drink containers (29 of them!), IMG01128-20140818-1228IMG01122-20140818-1156and a very battered Ontario birth certificate, which I kept.  I can make out the name, date and place of birth, so I think I’ll see if I can track down the owner.  It’s weird to think about having this person’s very important ID in my hands.  Who is he?  What is his life like?  What is he like? Is he here in Port Credit?  Is he still living?  I hope so.  IMG01123-20140818-1213

That was my morning today.  We came home for lunch, then went out for another ride later.  That ride turned out to be golden, because it lead to an hour or so of spontaneous, unstructured and imaginative building with two other kids at a local lakeside park.  No climbers, no toys, no bikes.  Just driftwood, willow branches and vines.  Pure joy watching these kids build a teepee.  We now have plans for tomorrow afternoon.  Heading back to this beautiful park to continue work on the summer teepee.  I’m glad we have a plan for tomorrow, but sometimes, I think I plan too much, try to fill Noel’s days too much.  Sometimes, we just need to go with the flow, and see where the day takes us.IMG01135-20140818-1638Peace!

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Earth Day


I’m not sure where to begin an Earth Day post, there is just so much to feel today, about where we are, where we are headed, where we need to head, where I am trying to head.

I am not saying “Happy Earth Day” today, because I think that the phrase too often sounds as hollow as “have a nice day”.    We say the phrase, but it is lip service, and it is meaningless without action.  We all love the earth right?  We’re awed and inspired by her beauty. We acknowledge that clean air is better than filthy air,  and we love going to the beach, or walking in a park.  But saying Happy Earth Day is not enough.  We have to act on our feelings of love for the earth.  We have to pick up the litter.  We have to be the Lorax, but more.  For not only must we “speak for the trees” we must act too.  Pick up trash.  Ask others to pick up trash. Work for a change in the way we do business, work to make our children understand “need” versus “want”, and become more mindful consumers than we have been so far.  Acknowledge that we don’t need all this stuff, and try to curb our addiction to this throw away mentality that has become so pervasive in such a short period of time.

It is mind boggling to think of what needs doing, it really is.  I sometimes get in to this funk and think that it is all just too much, that we can’t change what is happening to our earth.

We can create change though, by acting.  Picking up garbage on a beach or a street is a small act, but it is an action that makes a difference.  At the very least, if makes the street or beach look better, prettier, maybe safer.  Maybe it makes your neighbourhood a more desirable place to live.  But the single act of picking up one piece of trash does so much more.  It prevents that piece of trash from ending up in the river, or lake, or ocean.  It prevents a sea bird or maybe a sea turtle from ingesting it, and maybe dying from starvation by ingesting something that is not doing anthing good for it’s body .  Maybe it prevents that plastic bag from joining other debris in blocking storm sewers and contributing to flooding in your neighbourhood.  Maybe that single act gives someone else the courage to act.  Courage to pick up not one, but a whole bag of litter while walking to the park.  Courage, because, trust me, it takes some courage at first.  Bending over to pick up someone else’s litter will get you some strange looks!   I have learned to ignore the strange looks, for they mean nothing to me.  It may get you some comments too, like “good for you”, “bless you”, or my personal favourite so far, “oh dear, are you on welfare?”  Use the comments to educate or inspire, or make people think.  I usually reply with something like ” thank you, I believe we all can do our part” or, “thank you, I know you’ll get some later too”.

I’ve done some other things besides picking up trash.  I won’t get in to the list here, because I’m not trying to blow my own horn.  The point is that I have done.  Doing is key.  Action creates change.

Whether your cause is environmental, an issue of social justice, or a community improvement idea, do!  If you want more trees at a park, plant some.  If you’re worried about loosing the Monarch butterfly, plant some milkweed and, better yet, talk to your friends and ask them to help as well. If you are not comfortable acting alone, find a group of like minded people.  Trust me, they are out there, and they will welcome your help.  I have discovered a whole world of people who are passionately and tirelessly doing something to make a difference. Most I have not met personally, but I follow their writings and pages on line.  I “like” and comment on their posts.  I ask their advice. I am humbled by their dedication and thankful for their actions, both large and small, and I tell them so.

On a personal level, I’ll just say that once you do act to make a difference, it is addictive.  You want to do more.  You feel good doing, and so you keep doing.  If you’re like me, you’ll soon realise that not only is your action good for the earth, it is good for the individual soul, it really is.  Take action, and you will feel good.  You’ll do it again and again, and soon, you will be hooked.

Love the earth, and act upon your love.  “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.


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