Are you feeling overwhelmed by the world’s problems, and powerless to do anything about them?

Here’s a small thing that almost anyone can do: Grab a bag or bucket and a pair of rubber gloves (and a mask, in case you meet anyone), and go out for a walk. Yes, it’s cold out, but you know how to dress for that.

Look at the ground as you walk, especially at the edges of roads, in parking lots, and around bushes, and look for anything colorful or shiny, or of a shape that doesn’t occur in nature. You’ll find that most of that stuff is plastic: broken plastic cups, lids, straws, fast-food containers, candy wrappers (which used to be made of paper, but most aren’t anymore), water bottles, miniature liquor bottles, cigarette packs (which have clear plastic wrappers), smashed pieces of tail lights, and much more.

Other than the water bottles, very little of this can be recycled. But every bit that you pick up (and dispose of properly) is one less bit that will end up in our waterways (via storm drains or wind) and ultimately in the ocean, where plastic is killing all kinds of life forms, from whales and dolphins to sea birds and even plankton.

Anyway, you’ll get out of the house and get some exercise, and your neighborhood will look better.


Claire Prontnicki


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