Friday, April 28, 2017

Would you like some river with that plastic?

John Muir once said that "In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks". Obviously, he loved nature. Even more obviously, he must have been inspired by the L.A River. The L.A River that, when I went to last Saturday expecting to pick up a couple pieces of trash littered along the bank, instead offered up a treasure trove of plastic and debris that seemed to have grown like weeds among the once flourishing plants and bushes. The plastic was so abundant that it quite literally had become a part of the landscape; there were strips of the stuff so fully intertwined with some of the tree branches there that to take the strips out would require breaking off the very branches they wrapped around. Very symbolic. Overall, however, despite the heat and the traffic and the wobbly rocks that I could never quite balance on, I felt that the experience was a good one. The goal of our class was to engage in some sort of service learning, and this opportunity of cleaning the river allowed us to physically do so while prompting us to reflect further upon greater ways that we might help the community. Personally, I enjoyed the event because I was able to participate in community service that I wouldn't normally consider - but that is clearly very important. In doing so, I was able to witness firsthand the consequences of a way of life that I take for granted, and as a result have begun to consider other ways of doing daily life that don't require using so much plastic.

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