Calling all Recycling Special Agents and Runners:

I feel like my documenting of my running experience (or lack there of since I’ve only been trying for about 5 days) has taken over this blog.  I was planning to review Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs today, but really it’s just a gush session about pace and how Tim Burton is in talks to do the movie (which inevitably means Helena B. Carter is going to be playing Miss Peregrine).  Don’t worry, I’m still going to write the review, that was just a preview.  This is me fist pumping about it:

A Very Sassy Cassie Fist-Pump. (yes, I'm stilling wearing the earmuffs from my run because they match the Wolfpack Zebra Stripe shirt I'm wearing right now).

Anyway, instead of filling your minds with fantasy today, I wanted to write about something … that I can rant about.  Let’s start here: I’m big on recycling and by that I mean, at dinner parties, I’m that person who yells, “wait, wait, don’t throw that away, you can recycle it” from the other room, with the TV on full blast, while people are conversing around the kitchen island, scraping chunks of uneaten meats off of plates.  I’m the girl with eight plastic water bottles under the seat of her car, or stuck around the e-break, or floating around my trunk because I can’t throw them away unless I want an endless day of Catholic guilt around my shoulders and waist.  Unfortunately for the population of the suburbia neighborhood I live in, I’m seeing every bit of white paper flake, plastic wrapper, cardboard coffee cup cooler that they leave in the plants around their mail box, or the middle of their TrueGreen Green grass, or even just on the middle of the sidewalk….because who really believes their sidewalk is a part of their property (let’s just filth it up!).

Captain Planet...imagine me that muscle-tastic.

I was thinking about this the whole time I was running this morning.  I was wishing I had a plastic bag to grab-and-go trash and recyclables on the way (kill two birds with one stone kind-of thing).  I didn’t even need to stop, it became a superhero game in my head where I could just swoop in, save the recyclables from the evil, weed growing grasses and be on my merry way.  Like a Captain Planet with a boobs and curly-hair, if you will.  Then, out of thin air, I’m pretty sure I became a superhero.  Right there, towards the end of my run, in the middle of the pavement floated a brown Harris Teeter plastic bag.  And come to find inside was a little gift of a plastic container still holding its mayonnaise packets and ketchup.  I was clearly on my way to recycling heaven so I did the dip-and-dive, grabbed the bag in one off second of my normal pace and went on collecting grape soda bottles, cans of beer, lollipop wrappers and my personal favorite; an unused period pad (ouuuuu, ahhhh).  While I didn’t have a green cape, or a leafy mask the way I in vision all my recycling heroes to have, I was on a mission.  (I almost got really corny right here, cornier than probably I’ve ever gotten on this blog and said “MISSION POSSIBLE.”  But then I’d probably have to star alongside Tom Cruise, and that would make me cry myself to sleep….unless it was in Jerry McGuire).

Honestly though, I’m disappointed in my neighborhood and the American culture.  I can’t speak for other countries (except Australia which wasn’t actually very trashy until you were in the City), but why is it that we only get to action when we hear about the death of polar bears because of global warming.  It’s like polar bears hold up our entire population because their white, and fuzzy as babies.   Actually, we’re creating a world-long marathon of plastic in our oceans, we’re leaving debris that could be recycled into really awesome creations if people would just stop and see what the value of some plastic sandwich holder could be.  We’re creating an environment that says, if a cop isn’t around, I can just throw this bottle out my window and not think about it another second.  And that’s why, on the sides of highways and streets we’re bombarded with white flyers, trashes in ditches, and we stare out the window thinking, “what’s wrong with people?” when the real question should be “what’s wrong with me? or what’s wrong with us?”  We’re all to blame.  I’m no saint here.  I’m sure at one time or another I threw away something that was in my way that could have been perfectly recycled.  However, I’m trying harder to be more environmentally conscious.

It all started when my biology teacher sophomore year had us do our Ecological Footprint.  Now, mine wasn’t bad, but I probably fibbed on a few answers to make myself look better because I thought we were turning it in.  He didn’t have us turn it in, we were to keep it to ourselves and see how we could improve.  I laughed it off, like all other things I laughed off in college science classes (genetics, astronomy, biology, geology…especially geology….).  I was really lacking in the electricity and light categories so a few years later when I thought about it, even though I’m scared of the dark, I decided it was best for the environment if I didn’t keep the hallway light on all night and instead got a child’s night light to keep me safe from the closet monsters.  (This is for real, I’m really not joking, I have a night light.  Thus why on twitter at night, after a scary movie, I always say, Nightlight: Engaged).  There are other things I’ve come to think were important over the years, just in my own home, and now my entire family recycles, we try to do less laundry and less dishes, and really pack both loads full.  These are just small things.

Feel free to calculate your footprint here. (Click the link).

Since I’ve began this running fantasy that I came up with in December (half-marathon), I’ve come across a lot of runner readers.  As you know, most of my blogs are about reading since it’s my favorite past time, but lately while I’ve been reading book blogs in the topics section of wordpress (go, it’s wonderful), a lot of these bookies had dreams or were conquering dreams that are the same as mine (in running & reading).  So, to them, and anyone else reading this who walks, or is out in their neighborhood regularly (maybe you garden, or your kid swims for the local swim team, or you walk to class on your college campus, or you just walk inside the grocery store, or into work) please encourage yourself to pick things up on the way around, in, or out.  This just means, give yourself a quick pep-talk, a pat on the back, a one body hug, and then walk out of the car proud, picking up a few miscellaneous trash items.  I know sometimes you’re going to look like a drunken hippie (in a moment, I’ll show you photos of how I look when I run and the trash I collected on just two streets today, and you won’t feel so bad about yourself).

I guarantee, although you may look silly, there will be people who pick up on this (maybe they’ll make a movie, har har).  It’s a simple act that you can do for the environment … everyday.  There’s trash cans outside (in America) most of the major stores and so you can do a quick scan of the parking lot, pick up a few things, and be on your way inside with some hand-sanitizer.  I plan to do this, and look like the silly hippie I already am…clearly.

Here are some photos of the trash/recyclables collected and the way I look when I run in the morning:

Yes, I really look like like that when I run. A child who dresses herself.

This reminds me so much of Keenen & Kel and Kel's Orange Soda. There's Mr. Jasper in the background.

The infamous pad. Thank God it's dry. I could think of worse things.

Here are a just a few of my favorite running/reading bloggers (that I’ve found so far):

No Catholic guilt on me today, I blogged about it and everything. : )

13 thoughts on “Calling all Recycling Special Agents and Runners:

  1. baggyparagraphs says:

    Yesterday on my 2.5-mile walk with the dog, I picked up a fast-food bag and was able to throw it into a trash cart that was left outside a nearby house. (Because I sure didn’t want to carry it all the way back home; also, I was able to put the poop bag inside the fast-food bag, which is sort of like hitting an inside-the-park home run.) Nearly home again, there was a Target bag to be dealt with. Luckily, it was empty.

  2. Bea says:

    First, get that cat off the counter!, or should I say, first, get that “pad” off the counter. Either way, sure hope you sanitized after all the photos were taken.
    Now, you are so right. I walked past that pad a few days ago, didn’t pick it up, so I am proud of you.
    After reading the blog, I will now travel with a plastic grocery bag that I can fill up and toss at the end of my walk. I don’t believe I can swoop in like Superman or Wonderwoman though, but what the heck, I’ll give it a try.
    Maybe all that stooping and swooping will build up some new muscles and help me stay in shape. In the end, we all benefit. Also, love the outfit!

  3. ClaireMcA says:

    I have a new book for you to motivate the running, well two actually, there is the very slim and more literary ‘What I talk about when I talk about Running’ by Haruki Murikami, which I believe to be about how running and writing work in tandem for him and then another I was recommended but have not read yet either, but looks awesome, ‘Born to Run’ by Christopher McDougall, total inspiration from what I’ve heard, but will check with my brother whom I gave this for Christmas.

    Here’s a link, check out the five fingers running shoes, I can totally see you in a pair of those, just the thing to complement that outfit!
    http://barefootted.com/McDougall_Born_to_Be_Barefoot.pdf

    • Cassie says:

      I keep hearing about Born to Run and I just read a blog that primarily focused on his barefoot chapter. I’m pretty sure I need some of those five fingers just because they look absolutely nuts and will make me feel totally professional.

      I like the other book as well – with the writing and the running. That will obviously be helpful. I’ll check them out. Thank you! Do let me know what your brother thought, I assume he’s a big runner.

  4. Jen Thompson says:

    This is amazing…..recently I started running, but although I try and recycle where I can and wouldn’t dream of throwing any rubbish onto the floor. (Like you, I couldn’t live with the guilt.) I never thought about picking up rubbish as I see it when I’m out running. Thinking about it now though, I feel daft for not realising. I’ll be sure to keep my eyes peeled when I’m next out and about…
    All you cans and crisp packets better beware!

    Thanks for sharing this, you had me laughing! :)

    • Cassie says:

      Haha, we sound just alike. And crisp packets – they are the worst….along with cigarette butts. Who leaves their cigarette butts on the ground in a uber suburban neighborhood – white picket fences and the works! Oh well, I cleaned them up. Good luck – let me know how it goes! Write a blog about it, even better. : ) And thanks for your kind words.

  5. Bea says:

    I had to add that I went out walking today, found a plastic bag blowing in the wind, and am happy to report filled it to the brim before my walk was finished. This is my resolution for the new year, and who knows, maybe all that bending and scooping will help me keep fit as well.

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