Remember "Give a Hoot! Don't Pollute?"

When I was a little girl, my friends and I would drop gum and candy wrappers on the ground without feeling any guilt. While on a Sunday drive, we didn’t bag up our garbage and wait until we got home to throw it away. We tossed pop cans, empty chip bags, and apple cores out the window. It wasn't a big deal. Everyone did it.

But in 1970, a campaign which focused on cleaning up the environment began with an owl named Woodsy and the slogan, “Give a Hoot! Don’t Pollute!” Commercials showing a tear running down a Native American's cheek as he viewed the garbage cluttering a forest and stream tugged on our heartstrings.

The movement to stop polluting began to change how we looked at our surroundings. Many of us began taking pride in keeping our streets and parks clean. We not only took the extra time to place our trash in cans, we embraced recycling.

Now I cringe every time I see a piece of paper floating in the wind, a pop can left on a sidewalk, or a pile of cigarette butts poured onto a parking lot floor. Really? They couldn’t walk several feet to deposit their waste in a garbage can? And what really gets me is seeing a piece of old furniture and bags of garbage left on the side of the road that animals have pawed through. Who made that spot someone’s personal dumping ground?

Despite a few people still not giving a hoot, the movement has made a difference.

People can change. People have changed.

Things don’t have to stay the same.

It may take a lot of time and effort. But it’s possible to influence and inspire people to make good changes in their lives, communities, and world.

You can make a difference.


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