Day 362 of 365

Every summer between high school and college I spent many of my days at a reservoir deep in the woods of my home town. When I first started going there it was pristine nearly garbage free with plenty of animals to be seen. It was an oasis of sorts, you could go there relax in the warm water of a new England summer have a few beers and watch the sunset. We always made sure we put our empties in our backpacks for the walk home. As social media arose we began to post about this place. It was never a secret but it definitely gained popularity from some of our videos and photos. Fast forward about 8 to 10 years this place is now illegal to go to there are no trespassing signs everywhere. The kids after us really destroyed this place via spray paint, garbage, and other forms of vandalism. It hurts to see something you held so close to your heart fall apart.

I still hike that place from time to time but now I always show up with a garbage bag and since they have made it illegal to hike there it has been getting cleaner and cleaner. I think the destruction of this place is where my love for the environment was really ignited. Now at 26, I am started to feel the guilt of my actions on the world as well as my local environment. Specifically in the case of single-use plastics. It seems it’s all we hear about today but it is true. One look outside the window of my Brooklyn apartment and it looks like the trees at the park across the street are growing plastic bags. The streets in this neighborhood are littered with trash partly because they know that someone else (Street sweepers) will pick it up for them. I often see my neighbors throwing full bags of trash out of there 15th story windows. It bothers me but I can’t help but feel that I am a part of it. For years I have started my mornings with Iced coffee inside of a plastic cup with a plastic straw only to be thrown out. Now I have a metal cup and a metal straw and I didn’t like it at first because it almost had a metal smell to it but over time I have gotten used to it. With that being said I am exploring local workers, shops, artists, brands, and individuals whose work is practiced in sustainability. For myself, I am working on becoming more conscious of my role in using single-use plastics. Forks, knives, cups, straws, pens, plastic bags, if I can cut those out I think I will at least be helping out my local environment. Hopefully, New York can create alternatives that are less destructive to our planet as well as our city so that we can set the stage for the future of green cities and mindful consumption.