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Wayne’s World – It’s time to clean up our act

Posted on April 28, 2014 by Maple Creek

Every Sunday evening I wonder what to write about in my weekly column. I am constantly amazed at how ideas then begin to fill my head as I think of what has occurred around the world, in Canada, locally and in my life. I typically end up with two or three ideas, some of which I cannot share. Often my subject turns out to be something totally unrelated to the ideas I first had, and so it was this week.

My wife and I traveled to Swift Current on Saturday to surprise our daughter, Amanda, with a birthday visit. She was actually born on April 28, but getting together that day did not fit our schedule. Therefore, we made an excuse to go to Swift Current on the 26th and stopped in for a visit and impromptu birthday celebration. It was a laid-back get-together compared to the surprise celebration our daughter planned for her husband’s 30th birthday two weeks earlier. Upon learning Maple Creek and southwest Saskatchewan was without electrical service, we decided to spend the entire day with our daughter and son-in-law.

As most parents will agree, it is truly wonderful to have family close by. I miss not seeing our youngest son who is at Regina and our oldest son and his wife who live on Vancouver Island. However, we plan to visit British Columbia a little more in order to see our first grandchild grow and develop. Their child (whose sex is unknown) is expected to arrive in early July. I sure hope their baby does not have colic as his father did.

As for more local news, it was wonderful to see close to 50 people of all ages attend a Communities in Bloom-sponsored pizza supper after cleaning up streets and back alleys. I am sure there were more people who were involved in the Earth Day campaign, but did not attend the supper that the town sponsored.

Growing up in the country, I participated in my first municipal clean-up campaign when I was in elementary school. I was about 12 years old at the time and the amount of garbage we picked up from streets, ditches and back alleys closest to our school was astonishing. The town had to bring in a gravel truck and front-end loader in order to remove the massive pile of debris which the students and teachers collected in one afternoon. That was back in the days before teachers’ conferences or professional development days, so having an afternoon out of the classroom to pick garbage was welcomed by every student. The hands-on activity transformed us from spectators to pioneers of a new and better way of living. We felt privileged to have a positive impact on our environment and town. That mindset fit perfectly with the 1960s, but we were too young to fully appreciate the changes that were occurring in society, politics and governments around the world.

There has been a huge transformation in our environmental consciousness since those early days of social reform and the sexual revolution. Garbage, toxic waste and pollution has virtually been eliminated and all water ways have been cleaned up. Waste from mining and commercial operations no longer enters any bodies of water. Like the dinosaurs, oil spills are a thing of the past and venting gases and carcinogenic  products into the atmosphere is unheard of . . . at least that’s the way it is in my dreams.

The truth is we continue to improve production methods and reduce the amount of waste generated by industry, but such change has been slow and not typically welcomed by the engines of our economy. Environmental stewardship has improved due to increased knowledge and education, monitoring of conditions by scientists and reputable individuals, and a demand by millions of people to reduce pollution as much as possible. Unfortunately, we have a long way to go before we can safely say planet Earth will be a habitable and good dwelling place for future generations. If you disagree, take a look at the garbage that can be found on boulevards, back alleys, ditches and shelter belts.

Change or improvement takes effort and the efforts of one person may not be noticeable. However, positive results can be attained relatively quickly when people unite and initiate large-scale action. It can also be a lot of fun as was Maple Creek’s clean-up project that resulted in an enjoyable social event, a feeling of accomplishment and a pizza party.

It was truly a good time and I hope to see everyone out and about at the 2015 Earth Day clean-up, even if it isn’t followed by supper or a party.

Share and Enjoy !

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