Tuesday, March 2, 2010

This is my latest column that appeared in today's Kings County Record

Whalen's Wanderings

A Morning Walk Leading to a Rant

I have been walking to work quite regularly over the last month and a half. I enjoy the early morning stroll and I find that it puts my mind in a good place before I have to start my day. Another great aspect of the walk is that I not only get a workout for my legs, I also tone my arms. I seem to always be waving to people and every now and then I laugh as I realize how truly great it is to be in this great place. Besides needing exercise, I also started walking to reduce my ecological footprint. The less I drive my car the better for the environment. I realize this isn't feasible for everyone to do but I encourage you to consider active transportation next time you're just heading around the corner. It will make you feel good on more than one level.

Friendly people, unfortunately, are not the only thing I have noticed on my walks. I also have seen a huge amount of litter along our main streets. One morning I could have easily collected $1.50 in refundable cans and bottles, and if I had a place to put them I would have picked them up and bought myself a hot chocolate from Tim Horton's. This brings me to another item of debris, coffee cups. If you stop at the bridge on Main Street that crosses over Parson's Brook you will likely count over 20 cups in that one location alone. Some one is in the habit of simply throwing the remains of their morning coffee into Parson's Brook. As the project manager for the Kennebecasis Watershed Restoration Committee, this really irks me. Every year for the last three years we have removed more the 500lbs of garbage from Trout Creek near the Leonard Drive bridge due to thoughtless people who litter.

Parson's Brook does not always run, I know, but that does not mean it is a garbage ditch. When it runs, it flows into Trout Creek, which flows through Sussex, then into the Kennebecasis River, which flows by Apohaqui, Norton, Hampton, Quispamsis, and Rothesay, then empties into the Saint John River, to the Bay of Fundy, and then finally into the Atlantic Ocean. Last I checked there are no aquatic species that like coffee, so when you throw your cup into Parson's Brook, you are negatively impacting the entire eastern seaboard, because no one likes to see garbage floating by them as they walk along the river, or paddle in the Bay, or cruise on the ocean.

If you want to have your coffee on the go, buy yourself a reusable mug. I think in some instances your coffee might be cheaper if you do and Tim Horton's has a good price on great trendy mugs. If you don't have a mug then properly dispose of your cup. Rinse it and throw it in your blue bag at home and it will be recycled. That is a far cry better than having it float down the Trout Creek.

Ben Whalen is an avid backpacker, adventurer, and environmentalist, who loves the natural areas in and around Kings County. You can check out more of his adventures and writing at http://www.whalenswanderings.blogspot.com

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