Of the millions of things I hope to impress upon the children, Do Not Litter is right at the top of the list. It seems so basic, please don't throw your garbage on the ground, but for reasons unknown to me this simple concept seems lost on many. We wade through the garbage left behind at the park, on the bus, and at the baseball game. Earlier this week we picked up a discarded Bud Light can at the zoo, presumably not left behind by the polar bears. The idea is simple really but the lesson far greater, if you don't pick this up then who will?
Teaching the girls not to litter teaches them respect for the environment yes, but also respect for their community, their neighbors and their friends. Not littering reminds them that the world is a very big place and they are responsible for their own spot amongst many. It's a lesson in continuity, of generations before and generations to come. Making the effort to find a garbage can (which can sometimes be challenging) is a lesson in community (and government), and scooping up a newspaper left behind by someone else reinforces the importance of working together for a greater good, and gives us an opportunity to find the blue recycling bin.
And really, why should anyone have to play on a beach with this bobbing in the water?