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Earth Day, Community Composting, and Memories


Thursday, Earth Day, was a gorgeous spring day, so I spent part of it outdoors doing some yard work. In the front, a bush died over the winter, and needed to be removed. I started with hand pruners, but quickly realized I needed something with more bite.

Loppers made short work of it, and it wasn’t long before the bush was bagged ready for the city pick-up. My axe will come out later, to grub out the stump.

Lawn work can have a certain meditative quality about it, so I don’t mind doing it. Since it happened to be Earth Day, it got me remembering.

In 1970, I was in school and our National Honor Society chapter did a “teach-in” where we did presentations for younger students. Mine was on water quality and waste water processing. Tertiary septic systems. Now that was a hot topic!

Remember going to the library and using the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature for your research 40 years ago? A long row of books, library bound in green, where you would record the information and ask for the magazine to be pulled from the stacks in back. Or perhaps view it on microfilm.

Some people in the country made compost. We used to burn our leaves on the edge of the street. Cans, bottles, paper, all that went into the regular trash. In my area, we recycle those things, and many more items.

Grass clippings and leaves go to community composting. If you want the results, there are designated places where the finished product is offered for free – first come, first served – to people improving their soil or working on their landscaping.

Perhaps in the future, someone will benefit from mining those old landfills. Meanwhile, 40 years after the first Earth Day, it seems perfectly natural to recycle the grass clippings, leaves and the dead bush, just like in nature.

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