"If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up!"
- Pete Seeger, in YES! Magazine

Monday, March 9, 2009

Three-fer: Picking Up Trash, Educating Youth, Giving Kudos

The project:
Picking up trash/recycling while educating neighborhood kids about the benefits of keeping public areas THEY want to use clean and encouraging them in their recreational endeavor.

10 minutes

Why bother?
For 13 years I've watched this small patch of dirt in my neighborhood sprout weeds and wildflowers, then dry, then pile high with eucalyptus bark before starting the cycle again after the first windy storm blows away the season's detritus. No kids played there. I've been waiting.

Over the past two weeks, some neighborhood kids have been out with their shovels and bikes building jumps, a perfect use for this county-owned, unimproved lot. The kids are out, working together, doing something that requires cooperation and physical activity. They're on government land which belongs to us all.

Today when I stopped to watch the kids jump (the first time I did this they thought I was going to tell them off - you shoulda seen their smiles when I told them the jumps were a long time coming and asked to see them use their new jumps), I noticed some extra plastic bottles blowing around the place. I picked up the bottles (some were quite old, clearly predating the new improvements), and asked the kids nicely if they'd watch out for each other and keep the place garbage free. "If your friends or anyone else leaves their trash blowing around, some people are likely to complain. That could mean the end of the jumps." THAT they seemed to understand. We'll see if they keep up their end of the bargain.

Worth it?
Yes - it's great to see kids out playing in the neighborhood. This is a perfect spot for it, too. Is it the SAFEST sport? No. But what sport is safe? And they're DOING something OUTSIDE...TOGETHER! Fantastic!

Photo by AddyEddy under Creative Commons License.


  1. I agree that it's great to see kids outside playing. It's too rare nowdays.

  2. Tom and I always had some dirt lot near home that was turned into bike jumps, I have very good memories from those days. Not many broken bones mostly just scraps and bruises. It kept us out of mischief.

  3. Yeah...except for that one kid with the broken neck. Then again, that wasn't on dirt, was it? And jumping a CAR on CONCRETE may have been pushing it a bit. ;)


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