A Millennial Making America Clean Again

My Independence Day post on Inc. today, “A Millennial Making America Clean Again,” begins

A Millennial Making America Clean Again, Joshua Spodek's July 4 Inc. article
A Millennial Making America Clean Again, Joshua Spodek’s July 4 Inc. article

A Millennial Making America Clean Again

He’s doing a simple, small, short term act that makes a difference and is leading to more. Will you follow?

I love Independence Day. I don’t eat hot dogs, nor do I care that much for fireworks.

I celebrate July 4th by reading and writing about influential Americans and American history. I’ll put this one in context with some memories of living abroad.

National pride and garbage

One of my most vivid memories of China was of a Chinese man at the Great Wall. He was eating a bag of chips. When he finished them, he simply dropped the plastic bag.

The wind took it over the rampart out into China. I couldn’t believe his carelessness.

Later in my year there, a story by a Chinese person in an English-language newspaper recounted something similar. He saw a Korean busload of tourists arrive at the Great Wall. When the door opened, the Korean tourists poured out and all started picking up trash at the tourist site.

He wrote that he felt shame that foreign tourists saw and satisfied the demand to clean his country. I didn’t think of garbage and cleanliness as having a patriotic or nationalistic component, but he revealed one.

Home, garbage, and cleaning it up

That was 2012. I didn’t think much of it until fall 2014, when I noticed most of my landfill garbage came from food. Most places I visit in the U.S., even far from cities, are littered with trash, as if invisible greenhouse gases and mercury-laden fish weren’t enough.

Read the rest at A Millennial Making America Clean Again.

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