It's time for us to care - deeply - for our environment. If only for the sake of our children and our children's children, we need to take big steps forward.
Many of those steps need to be daily ones.
More than two-thirds of the waste in our landfill doesn't have to be there, taking up land and polluting our groundwater. We must recycle.
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I moved to Cabarrus County two decades ago. I loved the unpretentious nature of the area, and the easy way folks met and talked.
I was instantly at home in a place where so many people cared deeply about local history. Some of my first stories were about homes that deserved preservation, about volunteers who organized, staffed and supported local museums.
I felt I could live out my life in such a community.
There was very little I missed, though it bothered me that the sidewalks that were common in every neighborhood where I grew up in the Midwest were a privilege that did not extend to my particular neighborhood.
I also noticed the lack of easy encouragement for recycling. For some county residents, it was easiest just to throw out everything in one garbage can. Trips to recycling centers were not then, or now, a popular errand.
For years I complained about the waste. I had a recycling bin and curbside pickup, but the bin was tiny, and I had limited rights as to what it could contain. Still, it was full every week. And still, my husband, Ralf, and I were driving to local recycling areas to make sure other household goods did not end up in the trash.
I had been spoiled living in Europe, where nearly all the garbage we produced got recycled. There were bins for everything I could think of - even compost.
Just last week I went outside to our new roll-out recycling cart to drop in some plastic goods. Out of curiosity, I compared the contents of the regular garbage cart and the recycling cart.
The recycling cart contained more than twice as much as the garbage cart. I was thrilled by the hard evidence that I was making some small difference. I was thankful to the folks who had made Concord's new recycling program possible.
I practically danced back into the house.
One of my favorite kitchen magnets is the one that came with all my recycling instructions, the one with pictures and lists that tell me the many things I can rightfully recycle. I look at it with a sense of civic pride. My leaders are helping me care about the generations that will follow me here, in my own home.
I am so grateful to add one more reason to my long list of reasons to love living here.
It was time to add this one.