What would happen if no one came to pick up your trash?
What would you do and how would you go about it? Would you do it for very long or throw in the towel at the slightest resistance? Would you whine about it but not actually do anything toward resolving the issue?
These are very real questions answered, daily, by people handling your waste and organizing changes throughout your community. Without them it is hard to know what it would be like to live in modern communities and cities. Italy had an excellent show of this, when the workforce for trash removal went on strike. I’ll have to dig up the link, when I have better internet access, but it went something like this:
Trash piled up everywhere and people got mad. Sweeping changes were made (no pun intended… well, maybe a little).
The story is best told by those involved but it does prove a point: we tend to ignore things, when they’re out of sight. If no one picked up your trash you’d notice it, eventually or at least within a week after the first missed pick-up.
Thankfully, there are people who have made it their personal mission in life to do whatever they can, in order to make their community a nicer place; from promoting reusable shopping bags, to initiating recycling programs, and even pursuing the passing of “extended producer responsibility” legislation. Some might brand them “environmentalists” but I prefer to view them as “practicing citizens.” You’ve heard the term “Jewish/Catholic… practicing/non-practicing” – well, the same holds true to citizenship. There are residents living in communities, who let each day pass unnoticed; then there are those who are actively involved in starting activities or getting information to you and me, for ways to avoid stinky messes. However, until it becomes a mess we can no longer ignore, these voices tend to get lost in the shuffle of daily life.
Take a moment and decide if you’re a practicing or non-practicing citizen in your community. When you’ve decided, lead or get out of the way.