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Inauguration? Why not a day of service instead? … PUYP goes Howard Cosell for a fund raiser … litter saved from the brink … and cleaner NC air

Disclaimer: I do not watch TV. I have a spiffy flat screen, but it has gathered dust without use in the past 18 months. There are better things to do with my time.

Like pick up trash/litter. So it’s interesting that regular Pick Up Your Path reader Richard Bargoil of Charlotte made a telling post on FaceBook: If you – and I am a ‘you’ – don’t support Donald Trump (from my end he’s an egregious and hyper-arrogant anti-environment nut case), then don’t watch his Jan. 20 inauguration (fake news?).

Instead, Richard suggests (and I’m paraphrasing here), you turn your energies to another form of civic duty: perform a day of service. It’s a marvelous idea.

So rather than groan & moan in front of a TV, I will instead troll for trash along my path – and may indeed extend the mileage a bit. (Here’s a great fund raising idea to bankroll Pick Up Your Path branded trash bags: Go Howard Cosell by auctioning off a brick that could be tossed by the winner through a TV screen while Not My President alternates between insulting/electrifying the electorate. Bidding starts at $10. Do I hear $20? If you’re too young to remember Howard Cosell and a brick, Google him and the brick idea.)

Great, great, great idea, Richard, for a day of service.

Aside from the simple satisfaction of simply removing litter from circulation, there is one other joy derived from this daily duty.

I routinely leave the sidewalk when I pass a storm drain.

That’s because storm drains are the point of entry for trash to escape containment and enter area watersheds. To capture some piece of litter as it rests on the precipice of a storm drain is an immensely good feeling.

So rather than be washed downstream to who-knows-where, junk is safely encapsulated in my bag for later recycling.

Still, there is a depressing side to getting up close and personal with storm drains. Almost without exception, lying a few feet below the hardened steel grates is a hodgepodge of plastic bottles, beer cans and polystyrene, et al, that I cannot reach and cannot rescue. It’s a depressing thought that what lays below will stay there until the next hard rain washes it to places unknown.

But enough debris gloom-and-doom. Now for some good news.

Toxic chemical emissions into North Carolina air dropped 79 percent in the decade from 2005 – 2015 as reported by the Charlotte Observer.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report,   the sharp drop off included less ammonia, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid and mercury. The decline was led by lower emissions by coal-fired electric power plants. The drop is due to plants burning less coal as power generation shifts to cheaper natural gas. The largest area power producer, Duke Energy, has retired seven of its 14 coal-powered plants.

A point of wonder: when The Donald’s new environmental czar takes over, will he squelch such useful reports as the TRI as well as lift overall power plant regulation?

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I was a writer by trade so one would think letters would come easily for me. It is so now, but wasn't always that way. Indeed, the first letter was written the Monday after Ellen started her freshman year in college. For years I've wondered - with no good answers - why I swiveled my office chair toward my computer screen to fire up a word processing document for that first letter. I just don't know. I just did. Perhaps it was the angst of separation or wanting to say things that had gone unsaid at that moment when we parted ways in front of her college dormitory. What was a one-off became habitual. When her brother Reid enrolled in the same college, his name was added to the salutation line. They were kids then and are adults now. No matter. The letter writing habit remains so today. I live in Brevard, North Carolina. I'm well away from where they live and don't see them nearly as often as I'd like. That's why letters, at least to me, fill the void of distance. The pages give me something to say and the space to say it. There is no assurance they read the letters; indeed, I have never asked if they do so. With the pace of their busy lives who could blame them for letting a letter sit unopened? Over time, it has dawned on me that the letters are both communicative - and cathartic. By nature, letters are about the writer; the writer can only write about their situation. Perhaps that is as it should be. It's all about the here and now from one person's perspective.

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