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How perception affects action.
Picking up trash in the East vs. West.

Maru-Gomi "no waste" Community Service Day

12 Sept 2009 - Asakusa Japan

I spent my Saturday morning at Warren Cat Clean Up Day cleaning up areas of the highway with a group from Warren Cat Construction where my dad works.  What a stark contrast to picking up trash in Asakusa Japan!

In Japan, littering shames not only yourself, but your family and ancestors as well. You bring shame on your entire family tree by throwing a cigarette butt into the bushes, but people still do.  Thousands of people came out for the national “No Trash” day to clean up the streets.  As seen above, we got blue bags for recycling and red bags for trash.  On a small island country, recycling is a much bigger concern than it is in the United States.

9 Sept 2011 - Midland Texas

On the other hand, in the States, we often associate people on the side of the highway picking up trash with prisoners doing community service.  One of the other volunteers told us that her minister wanted her to keep her back to the traffic so that none of her church members saw her and thought she was on parole.  Wow.  If we have such a negative perception of people picking up trash, it is no wonder that our highways are so, let’s face it, disgusting.  While I do not advocate taking on a stance as strict as Japan’s regarding waste clean up, we really need to get rid of this negative stereotype of people who clean the highway or people won’t take action to care for the environment we live in.