This week is not only National Park Week, it’s also Earth Day today – Friday April 22nd. Earth Day started in 1970 and this year the Tots and I have been working on a special Earth Day project along with our local Hike It Baby branch.
Every week since St. Patrick’s Day the tots and I have biked, strolled and cleaned up along the Provo River Trail. This trail is my Go To Outdoor space, the place I escape to when I need a little outdoor time in the midst of daily life. Because I love this space, I want to see it taken care of. Thus began the Hike It Baby litter clean up series.
Every week the tots and I join other parents of young children to pick up litter on a different section of the trail. The Provo River Trail spans 30 miles from Utah Lake to South Fork Canyon and so far we’ve picked up litter along about seven of those miles. Our efforts combined have removed several gallons of trash from along the Provo River, improving the environment for the ducks, fish and people enjoying the trail.
It would be easier to ignore the beer cans, plastic wrappers and paper bits we pass. Stopping every few feet means slow going – nobody’s getting a cardio workout on these hikes. But I want to teach my kids to take care of their wild spaces, and what better way to do that than through example?
It’s interesting that for one hour a week my Tots and I are aware of the trash around us and we choose to do something about it. But for the rest of the week I find myself ignoring the litter around me, even the wrappers and discarded plant pots in my own yard. It’s like I have an edit in my eyesight that I disable on the assigned day and time.
It makes me wonder what it would take to make more lasting change. I feel good about the trash our Hike It Baby group has removed from the trail. I feel good about getting my kids outside. I feel good about helping my kids practice riding balance bikes. But I feel bad that I only care for that one hour each week. Green guilt isn’t useful unless it motivates change, but I’m not ready to adjust my life any more than I have already.
The Quest Continues
This weekly litter pickup adventure will continue until the entire trail is clean. Not only because its good for the environment, it’s also good exercise. And we’ve got to get ready for our daily hiking and biking on our National Park to Park Highway Adventure.
Whether you’ll be spending Earth Day at a National Park or cleaning up trash on a local trail, let me know about it. Tag @mountainmomtots on instagram, twitter or facebook and tell me how you’ll spend Earth Day today. You’ll have a chance to be featured in the Mountain Mom and Tots Newsletter.
It’s a day to be grateful for the beauty around us and do something nice for the environment. Now’s your chance to do that something nice. What’s it going to be?