I went back to the location where, for three months or more, I picked up a bag of trash a day; mostly plastics and fast food containers. While drinking my coffee this morning, I spent time watching a couple of TED talks. They got me wondering about the landscape that I had tended.
After listening to the artist, Dianna Cohen, I then moved on to Capt. Charles Moore. By the time I had finished these two films, I became determined to make a conscientious effort to minimize my consumption of plastic even though the globe is deeply entrenched in its production, use and thoughtless discard.
Unfortunately, when I went back to Frank’s Flats, an idyllic place for many ecosystems and a harbour for waterfowl, I found so much plastic and waste that it brought me to tears. I just find our community so detached from its actions. I don’t really know what steps I can take to contribute to a change. I pick up one bag of garbage every time I visit this special location. It is a piece of land that I hold dear.
Last evening, I attended an orientation for the Calgary Pathway and River Clean-up hosted by the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. I felt that I was sitting with like-minded people and I felt transformed from the sense of helplessness and ineffectiveness of the morning. I really DID relax into myself and felt gratitude for the project that I’ve been faithful to for the past three months. I feel more prepared, for one, regarding hazardous materials procedures, safe practices, tactical disengagement and prohibited activities. I guess I’ve been doing things backwards, really. I had such a desire to clean up the darned mess that I acted somewhat spontaneously and might have at some point, really made a serious mistake.
Because the city closed down registrations for the Pathway and River Clean-up a wee bit early this year due to the overwhelming interest in volunteerism for this project. (Good Stuff!) I ended up registering my team for the Canada wide Pitch-In program that takes place April 23 -April 30. On Saturday morning, the 28th, we’ll meet here for a big cowboy breakfast and I’ll train my team. Then we’ll head out to Frank’s Flats for what will be my final pick-up of that particular tract of land. Last night, one of the City Parks people went over this map with me and explained that it is corporate land, not parks land. The City, however, has been very happy and supportive that I have taken this area on because it DOES become such an eye sore in terms of trash. No one in the corporate world…CN Railway, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, or Tim Hortons is taking responsibility.
Those of you who read my recent posts know what a struggle it has been to get the ‘big boys’ of business on my side. I’ve had good experiences there and not so good…Chandos Construction Ltd. ended up being a prize among companies and an organization that wished to meet their social and ethical responsibilities. Home Depot, on the other hand, wished to wash their hands of their own statement of philosophy and abandon it in a practical sense. It was easier to make their mess someone elses responsibility. I will never look at the word, ASSOCIATE, in the same way again. Tim Hortons…well, Tim Hortons has a struggle of sustainability on their hands. There are many grassroots folk who work for the company who have NO IDEA what the vision is for long term sustainability. In their own sustainability report, they provide zero accountability for their own waste management.
Long-story-short, I will be calling 3-1-1 and find a piece of land that is within our City Parks jurisdiction and continue my stewardship in the city of Calgary. The bird sanctuary, itself, is a testament to how beautiful a property can be within a bustling city! I am proud of the work I’ve done and I DO believe that one person can change a landscape. Frank’s Flats is for the most part, a ‘magical’ place and now, with the birds nesting along the pond’s perimeter, I feel as though my efforts are truly enjoyed!
On this map, you can see the piece of land to the right of the Shawnessy Home Depot, that has provided me with my greatest challenge. Home Depot does NOT own that land!
I will spend the remainder of the month, along with my team, clearing the slope that edges on the school and I will get the highschool crud cleaned out from a stand of trees where some very yucky things happen…and then I will leave Frank’s Flats for the people who use it…to steward it…so, dog-walkers, joggers, homeless, highschool students, sports center parents and children, coffee drinkers…as of May 1st, this land is YOUR land! I’ll be pickin’ in a piece of park land, not far from you.
The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. Gustave Flaubert