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NEWS | March 28, 2012

It's not like I'm Captain Planet or anything

By Senior Airman Torey Griffith 11th Wing Public Affairs

I stopped to pick up a candy wrapper, one sunny afternoon in the park.

No big deal, it's not like I'm Captain Planet or anything.

Just picked up some trash.

Then I saw a discarded straw.

And a piece of paper.

I picked them up and tossed them in a nearby bin.  My middle daughter, who is thoughtful and wise beyond her 6 years, saw me and stopped playing to help.

"Are you picking up trash because every day is Earth Day," she asked. 

"I sure am," I said, kind of shocked at her profound statement about Earth Day.

"I'll help you," she said.

I had one of those moments of realization, considering her little words and the large impact they suddenly had on me.

The Air Force's core values, which we are supposed to display at work as well as home, reinforce green ideals. How can one destroy the planet with integrity? How can you have excellence in all your litter?

As stewards of the Earth, we should be decent enough to pick up after ourselves.  Sometimes, going a little further to pick up after others makes a big difference.  Not only in the cleanliness of the area around you, but in the attitudes of the people you are close to.

Recycling is an excellent way to get the most out of our resources, keep our surroundings clean and enjoyable and avoid putting tons of garbage into the ground at landfills.

To some, the up-coming Earth Day on April 22 might seem like a hippie celebration of recycling and goofy-looking electric cars, but doesn't the principle make sense? Why not do one little thing every day to make a big impact on the world around you?

I think back to that warm Spring day in the park. The grass was green and trees were budding -- such a welcome sight after a cold and dreary winter. My little girl took a five-minute break from the monkey bars and changed her world, making the song of spring a little sweeter. And so should we all.