There’s a guy who lives somewhere near where I live. I don’t know him and I don’t know where he lives, but I see him jogging. He’s in great shape – if you met him you might ask him if he’s a runner. What’s particularly distinctive about him is that he runs while holding a plastic bag, which he fills with bottles that he finds on the street along his route.

He’s not collecting those bottles to get a nickel back for bringing them to the supermarket. Besides the fact that we don’t have bottle deposits in our state, you can just tell that he’s collecting them strictly as a public service – to pick up litter – his way of making a difference.

It’s incredible to me that people throw their trash out of the window of their car, or that they drop it on the sidewalk as they walk. If you’re my age or older (I’m 49), you’ll remember the iconic image in that TV commercial with the Native American man shedding a tear at the littered landscape. I’ve always cleaned up bottles and cans that I see on my street and I’ve now adopted the running-guy’s habit when I go for walks (I don’t run).

Another place I’ve been picking up trash for many years is the baseball field where I play softball on Sundays. Inevitably, people who play sports there Monday through Saturday leave their empty water and sports drink bottles, along with other trash, on the field – despite the available trash cans and recycle bins. My baseball pants have pockets, and I fill them with bottle wrappers, candy bar wrappers, and other scraps, emptying them each inning when I come from the field for my team’s turn to bat.

Leaders don’t litter. Leaders clean up litter. The guy who jogs through my town, grabbing bottles as he goes, is a leader, and a hero to me. Maybe you want to copy his idea. If everyone says, “someone else will do it,” then no one will do it. Be a leader. Pick up litter.

Warm regards,

David

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