Well here it is - the final day of 2018. I asked Zeke last night, "Do you have any regrets from 2018?" He said, "No." But then I thought about my own year .... did I have any regrets? My answer was yes and no. What I regret can be easily changed, and in fact, I have already taken steps to remedy that. Does that mean that I already have a gold star for 2019? (I'm such an over-achiever.)
So I've been in Boston for a few days to see the sights (again) and to learn more about how big cities do their part in recycling and being sustainable. First and foremost, I noticed the numbers of recycling bins in the airport alone. In Louisiana, it's like finding gold when you find a recycling bin. In the Uber, I counted FIVE signs/billboards to the very short 10 minute ride to the hotel. They weren't just tiny signs - they were HUGE. Digital billboards. Bus signs. Side of wall signs. As I wandered in the Boston Commons, I saw the sign - literally! Everywhere you turned, the public was reminded on Boston's aggressive effort to recycle. There were pictures showing the public what was recyclable and HOW their efforts where helping the environment. Then in Dunkin' Donuts by the cash register was a big blue sign reminding their customers to use their reusable shopping bags because the customer would be charged a few cents to get a (wait for it) ... a recycled paper bag. Wow - to think about that on a grand scale like if Walmart or Target (big stores) stopped having plastic bags altogether!
I was blown away that the city had taken such measures to ensure their citizens were aware and informed on recycling efforts. AND - I was taken aback that the bag the customers were paying for were ALSO RECYCLED. From that moment, all I noticed were people walking the busy streets of Boston with reusable bags and hardly any stores had those pesky plastic shopping bags. Wow, just wow. I have been trying to take my reusable bags into the stores when I go shopping for anything and yes, I feel so proud when I remember and don't come home with those plastic death traps.
How? How could a city like Boston make the move to such a big recycling effort? Why? Why aren't more states like this? OR is it that other states ARE and Louisiana just IS NOT? I had now become swallowed by this thought. What could one person do? What could I do?
During Christmas while in Marksville I also had two realizations: (1) Avoyelles Parish did not have a recycling center and (2) Hardly anyone was even educated about recycling. I had brought recycling bags to collect wrapping paper to be recycled, plastics/glass/cans, and to collect cardboard boxes. My mom followed suit because I asked the entire house to participate but she even made a comment that they didn't want to recycle. (But why not???? - I thought to myself) Was it because it was "too much work" or was it because they didn't know how? I know teaching an old dog new tricks isn't always fun and easy but it can be done. (And no, I'm not calling my mother an old dog (haha!) - just an expression!)
As the trip in Boston unfolded I learned so much more than I had expected and more will unfold on that. I learned about water conservation, marine conservation, reusing plastics, incentives for becoming sustainable, and oh so much more! But for now I have decided to tackle two great issues first and foremost:
1. Educate the uninformed (which I have been doing) by reaching adults first, children second.
2. Bring a recycling center to rural areas, starting with my hometown.
When I started this journey as Elite Miss Louisiana, I knew the organization's focus was on recycling, etc., but I had no idea that I would become this personally invested. It isn't just about a title. It's about doing my part to #SaveTheWorld while inspiring others to learn and follow my lead. Even today, I took an online class on "Going Green in Real Estate" so I could be more informed when talking to my real estate clients. I had no idea just how big the green movement has become. I know that I can do my part in so many ways. All it takes is just one little spark.....