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Picking Up Litter

In recent years, a tiny habit I've gotten into: once a day, during a walk or run, I try to pick up one piece of trash, however small. Sure, it doesn't make a significant dent in the total volume of garbage beside the road or trail or on the floor. But I tell myself that it's like a Kantian categorical imperative: if everybody did it, it really would help clean things up.

The practice also reminds me of the sweet "Starfish Story" that wise gentle friend Nancy Pruett Searles told me long ago. A little girl walking along by the ocean is picking up starfish that the tide has left on the sand and throwing them back into the water so they won't die. An observer points out that there are so many starfish on the beach that her tiny efforts can't make any difference. She thinks about it for a moment, then tosses another one into the sea and observes, "Well, it made a difference to that one!"

(cf. Categorical Imperative, The Star Thrower, ...) - ^z - 2011-10-25