Dear Friends,

A gorgeous Sunday morning greets me. The sun is shining, the air is crisp and the winds are subdued at the moment. It is a perfect time to get outside and enjoy being in “Nature”. Do it early, make the best of the day.

Since February 2011, every first Tuesday and Wednesday of the month, our municipality conducts a recycling campaign. This is not only a response to what is mandated by legislation but also a coherent and consistent approach to educating our community about a practice that contributes to sustainable development. Our Municipality does not have its own recycling center so an agreement has been established with a company that provides the bins and carts away the articles for further
processing. The profit is split evenly between the company and the (previously-approved) organized group of volunteers that have helped during a particular month. In the last few months, the Hogar de Vida, the Liceo and the Animal Rescue Association have been recipients of the proceeds from this activity.

My penchant for environmental cleanliness; my passion for working with communities and people; and my commitment to walk my talk have all prompted me to volunteer on more than one occasion for recycling duty. It is always nice to meet and greet the many residents who take time out to sort, rinse, crush and deliver their recyclables. It is obvious, however, that a strong recycling
culture still evades us in Atenas. I am always surprised by the way most people drop their items off. I challenge myself to come up with a perfect guide that can be posted all around so that awareness can lead to the culture of efficient recycling. My dream is that generations to come will be well-versed in the 4R’s of waste prevention: reduce, reuse, recycle and recover.

On Wednesday morning when I reported for duty, there were at least 50 large bags that had been surreptitiously left in the park the night before. It was an awful scene. We were many volunteers, but it took us a long time to go through what, in many cases, was just trash. In the meantime, cars were arriving in a disorderly manner. Many drivers impatiently left their bags at the curb, or
called out for one of the volunteers to run across the street to pick up the bags. Some well-meaning individuals offered suggestions (not help though!) to make us more efficient, and some people just wanted to chat or ask questions at a time and place that were obviously inappropriate. My mother’s words came to me clearly (Don’t volunteer for anthing unless you are willing to put up with everything
it entails) and I continued with my work in a cheerful manner.

A young man drove up in a pick-up truck filled to the brim. As I approached him, I was prepared for anything. I was rewarded with a picture-worthy array of neatly arranged bags, cartons, paper, etc. I regretted not having my camera, here was our “Poster Boy”! I asked him where he
had learned about how to properly bundle things. I complimented him on his education. He laughed and told me “It’s not education that made me do this, it’s actually consideration.” When he saw my confusion he explained that his group had volunteered the month before, that he had been
where we were now. He knew how unpleasant it was to go through someone’s garbage in the hopes of finding the odd can or bottle to put in the right bin. Consideration, a great quality to nurture.

Have a wonderful day and a wonderful week, Marietta

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