I’ve been encouraged not to litter for a long as I can remember.
As kids, we were always encouraged to save food, paper, craft supplies, energy (turning off the lights when you leave a room), water — you name it! — whenever we could. My parents taught us the principles of Leave No Trace while we adventured across the U.S. in our RV, including respecting nature and wildlife, so growing up, this was always a way of life for me.
But clearly, that lifestyle is not everyone’s cup of tea. Everywhere you go, whether it’s a parking lot, a beach, or a hiking trail, especially here in New Jersey, the ground is literally littered with cigarette butts, plastic bottles, and pieces of microtrash as far as the eye can see.
I’ve always tried to pick up trash whenever I could when I visited these places — and people stare me down every time. But when I found the Wild Keepers, I felt like I joined the right community!
The Wild Keepers are a group of volunteers with Keep Nature Wild, a clothing company that is dedicated to “standing for what we stand on” and, well, keeping nature wild through cleanup efforts all over the U.S. They host cleanups themselves in the West where they’re based, but they have groups of Wild Keepers (like me!) who go out on Impact Days and pick up trash, weighing it and submitting it to their waste total to KNW. Every purchase on their site also helps fund & host local wilderness cleanups.
More on their mission:
The collective mission of Keep Nature Wild is to “stand for what we stand on.” We believe that nature was meant to be wild, and it is up to us to keep it that way. We want you to show your local community how you keep it wild, and inspire others to do the same!
So when applications came up, I jumped on the chance! And I’m stoked to be a part of the KNW community and can’t wait for the first official Impact Day next week. I’m bringing a few of my friends out into a park here in North Jersey that gets a lot of trash washed up through a storm drain.
You can participate too! It only takes a few minutes on your walk to your car or through your neighborhood to see how much trash makes its way onto the ground.
My mom taught us this song about saving the Earth:
Use both sides of the paper, you’ll save twice as many trees
Don’t leave the water running, save our lakes and rivers please
Take only what you’ll eat whether it’s cake or lima beans
Let’s help to save the planet so that we can leave in peace
While it may be a children’s song, we can learn a lot from it — leave no trace, clean up after yourself, and maybe we can leave the world a little better than we found it.