Cruddy Creek

The other night I took the kids on a walk, during which we traveled down Oslo Street past the creek that sits just east of the WHS track and football field.

That prompted my 5-year-old daughter to ask an obvious question: "Dad, why is there trash in the water?"

A reasonable inquiry, indeed. The creek is absolutely littered with debris, and sad to say this is not entirely uncommon. One can usually some degree of trash along the tiny tributary, but this time around seemed a little worse than normal.

The cruddy creek had more or less slipped my mind until I received an e-mail Tuesday afternoon from a woman with the following instructions: "Please send a photographer down to the end of 13th Street right by the high school. There is rubble including two tires in the creek."

I briefly considered sending our photographer down to chronicle the yuckiness, but I didn’t (as there were other things going on.) The next day, though, the same person who e-mailed me the day before send a small collection of photos she had apparently taken herself at the 13th Street site.

What prompts people to treat the Earth with such utter disrespect? Personally, I think it must have something do with parenting.

I have a small memory of being somewhere around Grace’s age and my mom telling me that we weren’t supposed to litter. Are people getting the same kinds of messages from their moms and dads today? Worthington has an absolutely wonderful parks system, but too many people choose to pollute their grounds with trash despite the best efforts of city staff – not to mention community service groups such as Early Risers Kiwanis that "adopt parks" to help keep them tidy. There’s the creek debacle, of course, and Whiskey Ditch sure can get ugly sometimes, too.

Earth Day is coming up next week, April 22. I’d like to advocate that everyone do their little part to clean up a small portion of their neighborhood, or favorite recreational spot. And, for those of you reading this who may not put keeping their streets, parks or bodies of water clean – not to mention their own personal property – as a high priority, I’d urge them to read a paragraph or two on why we observe Earth Day, "a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment."

Keep it clean, everyone. It’s the least you can do to respect your community and those who live in, and visit, it.