Have you ever finished washing or waxing your car to find only a few minutes later that a bird flying overhead has left a rather large and messy ‘gift’ smack dab in the middle of the hood? Or watched the dog leave muddy footprints on the floors you spent an hour cleaning? Talk about frustrating! It’s not that you thought they would stay clean forever, and it certainly isn’t the end of the world to have to re-clean something. But no one enjoys the feeling that comes after having invested time and effort into something, only to see it be undone in a matter of seconds. Sadly, the road-side cleanups we began earlier this year through our local Adopt-A-Road program, result in a somewhat similar feeling but on a much deeper level.
When we first discussed the idea of adopting a local road, our objectives were simple: help the environment, remind folks that litter should not be tossed out the car window, and raise environmental awareness by cleaning up a busy road that runs alongside Florida’s 3rd largest, and most polluted, lake. Last Saturday, with the help of some members of the UCF Society of Environmental Engineers, we picked up over 200 pounds of garbage in a 5-mile stretch of road, in 3 hours. Say what?! Yes, you read that correctly; 200 pounds of trash in just one morning. Most of it fast-food packaging and beer bottles.
What a mix of emotions; happy we were able to make such a difference, yet sad there was so much there to be picked up. And what did we see the following morning driving down that very same road not 24 hours later? More trash. Not pieces we missed, new items. Talk about feeling defeated! If there were ever a time when our efforts felt like a single drop of water in the middle of a 30,000 acre lake, this would be it.
Well, we are not about to let some fast-food eating, beer guzzling litter bugs discourage us from making a difference. Picking up trash is no walk in the park, but as the song lyrics go, "sometimes the [hard] thing and the right thing are the same." We didn’t start this company to be discouraged by a lack of environmental concern from others. WellaVerde is here to make a difference, one step at a time, one day at a time, and one person at a time. And while we may be annoyed at the sight of new litter along the road we cleaned just yesterday, we are still making a difference in our community in many small ways each day.
Let us know about something you’ve done or are doing that, no matter how small, makes a difference to the environment or your community. Use #MakeADifference or @WellaVerde.
For more information on restoring Central Florida's 30,000 acre Lake Apopka and how you can help, visit www.FOLA.org. Vote YES on Florida's Amendment 1 on November 4th.