Every once in a while someone has something profound to say. Occasionally it even happens to a minister. It happened Sunday, May 26, 2013, at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Mobile, AL. The speaker was the Reverend Sandra Mayer who was filling in for the rector.
Rev. Mayer made points to explain her idea that "Your" hands tell the story of who you are.
She spoke of the TV show Dirty Jobs and how nasty the hands involved become.
Next she reported looking at the hands of God, Christ and other holy people in works of art throughout the centuries. Their hands were always perfect.
Then she wondered if that would have been real world?
She asked us if we had ever created anything without your hands becoming dirty and scarred?
Wasn't Christ a carpenter for thirty years? Didn't he also spend time on fishing boats, washing feet and healing? Dirty jobs and perfect hands?
What about Mother Theresa? Where did she work and what did she do? Dirty job? Perfect hands?
Their work was great and their jobs were dirty. They had to use their hands and they would have been dirty.
What do your hands show about you?
Will you use your hands to manifest your emotions and feelings to help produce good for the greater world?
That's the end of her message, and here's mine:
What about the habit of Daily Litter Walks you've been "fixin" to start?
Getting their hands dirty wasn't too easy for the holiest among us. We need more dirty hands.
Each day, at the end of "Your" Litter Walk, you will feel better in Spirit, Mind and Body. The world will be a better place.
Yes, your hands will get dirty, but gloves, soap and water will easily repair the damage.
Walking helps you become healthier. Each day you clean the land and naturally there will be less litter in the water.
You are the only one who can take that first step. What are you waiting for? Get up and get those hands dirty.
The world needs you and you can help make a difference.
Just a quick note to say how much I appreciate Rotary International sharing our efforts. Check out the blog article at blog.rotary.org
Could something as simple as widely practiced Daily Litter Walk help reduce government deficits and improve life around the world?
What would the impact be if the dots were connected and examined? Let's consider.
What if each day you and millions of your friends worldwide took a brisk walk and picked up litter along the way.
When you return home, you and millions around the world would feel better in mind, spirit and body.
With regular walks your health would improve and you need less healthcare. That would save billions.
Your community and the larger world would have cleaner land, water, healthier and more beautiful for all creatures to enjoy without government expense. Win, win, win Healthcare savings:
Daily walks improve your physical health.
While you might leave home in a less than cheerful mood I've never returned home depressed.
The walking releases positive natural chemicals in the body which make you mentally happier, too.
That means mental health would be improved for millions of citizens.
Being outside to wave and chat with your neighbors, to marvel at creation and enjoy the little gifts of life would improve the spirit of all concerned.
Therefore, the simple act of walking would mean fewer people using the healthcare system, they would need fewer drugs and their quality of life and sense of community would improve.
That alone could save billions of dollars? Environmental savings:
If millions of people pick-up the Daily Litter each day, wouldn't the environment be greatly improved? If you want clean water, wouldn't it be easiest to start with clean land? Pick it up each day before it hits the water system and wouldn't you get both? How much is spent on cleaning land and water after it's out of control with a year's worth of litter?
Wouldn't cleaner land and cleaner water mean less harm to wildlife, too? How much is spent on all phases of environmental and wildlife programs around the world? Wouldn't millions of people cleaning each day save billions of dollars here too?
Property values: If you're familiar with the "Broken Window Principle"
you can also understand where littered communities are worth less than clean beautiful ones. If you and millions of others show pride in your community by picking up the Daily Litter aren't you helping yourself and your community financially too? What can you do?
What else can you do? Encourage as many others as possible to join the effort.
What do you need? A few small plastic bags and a gardening glove.
How far should you walk? We walk five miles, five days a week over three different routes. You pick.
How often should you take the walk? Daily
Start walking and feel better fast.
Here you have it. Three weekly routes are labeled A, B, C. So if you start with A on Monday and walk A, B, C, B, A. The routes that produce the most Litter are walked twice each week and the least Litter once per week. There you have it, my greatest Daily Litter Walk accomplishment of the week. Well, apart from the walking five miles a day five days a week, but it's a system and it's simple.
The whole idea is simple, inexpensive and effective. Cleaner Land leads to Cleaner Water. Clean up the Litter on the Land and you get Cleaner Water for free. By taking a daily walk you improve the quality of your life and your health. Encourage others to join you and help them become part of Lean-and-Clean, too.
Each day encourage others all over the world to do the same. Think of the impact to health and environment from such a simple idea. You never know who you might encourage to take up the idea.
This week another environmental advocate group started following the idea. She speaks to groups all around the gulf. She can add the story to her speeches to groups and others might join.
After early church on Sunday there was an opportunity to tell the story to a friend moving to Clearwater, FL. While he is retired and writing his seventh novel, he will also help coach youth sports at the school his sons attended. He said he likes to teach the younger kids before they know everything. Perhaps he could teach the kids to start Daily Litter Walks in their neighborhoods.
At the end of one year and the beginning of another, here are my observations worth sharing with you.
1. None of my other activities offers as much immediate gratification as taking a brisk daily walk and picking up litter along the way. With church, community and professional activities, meetings occur on certain days of the week or month and at certain times and places. They also depend on others and their ideas to accomplish much of the agenda. A Daily Litter Walk can start at any moment, at any place, on each and every one of the 365 days in a year. There are no limits imposed by others on you and your desire to do good and to feel good about yourself and your community.
2. Walking is good for the Mind, Body and Soul. Years ago, when we started walking, the idea was that it was for the for the body and no thought was given to anything else. In short order the Soul and Mind both told us we were wrong. Walking is for the Soul and the Mind first and foremost. The fact that it also improves the body is purely secondary. Many days I've felt less than euphoric as the door closed behind me, but I've never returned home depressed. An hour's walk each day lifts the Spirit, the Mind and the Body.
3. You can learn to express yourself and educate yourself while walking. With all manner of audio publications available, you can listen to college lectures, books or music as you walk. As a member of Toastmaster's, I've written and practiced many speeches during a Daily Litter Walk.
4. Picking up Litter along the way requires simple tools. Each morning a few small plastic bags free from local merchants and a garden glove are all the tools needed.
5. Walking gives you a chance to see things you don't see in a car. You have the chance to meet your neighbors and wave to others as they drive by on their way to work and school. You also have a chance to see who might need help getting their newspaper to their front door and who might need help getting their garbage can to the street.
6. Having a chance to witness sunrise or sunset each day is a joy for your entire being. Being outdoors to appreciate the change of weather and the other creatures in God's universe brings joy, too.
7. Everything flows downstream. Cleaner Land leads to Cleaner Water. Picking it up before it hits the storm drains helps give you both.
8. The only thing missing is you. Start today and take a Daily Litter Walk. You will be Leaner and your community will be Cleaner. Lean-and-Clean is a winner for all.
This was a very exciting week for Lean-and-Clean. More groups are becoming interested in the idea and understanding the simple concept.
This week meetings were held with the Alabama Coastal Foundation, the board of Keep Mobile Beautiful, City Council Members, representatives of the new statewide newspaper AL.Com,
Mobile County School Superintendent Martha Peake and the Mobile Business Improvement District director Clayton Ratledge.
With more and more people hearing about and understanding the idea it can only help.
Let's all continue to expand and explain the idea of a Daily Litter Walk by as many citizens as possible.
Forming the habit of taking a Daily Litter Walk will help you be Leaner and picking up litter along the way will help the community be Cleaner.
Clean Land leads to Clean Water or buy one get one free.
There is nothing to buy since you can use the plastic bags you brought home from the grocery. Get up, put on comfortable shoes, a gardening glove and start walking.
Simple ideas that will lead to you being healthier and your community cleaner. Take a friend everyday to make it even more fun.
This week Clean-and-Lean would like to honor the Downtown Mobile District Management Corporation and their twelve employees. This 75-block Business Improvement District (BID) is a Self Help District funded by an extra assessment property owners pay to support the beautification of their area.
For seven years their five stewards have picked up litter, removed graffiti and power washed sidewalks seven days a week. During their last fiscal year they picked up 134,685 pounds of litter within their 75 blocks. Ladies and Gentlemen, that works out to 27,000 pounds of litter removed per employee.
When you consider that each bit of litter probably weighs less than an ounce, that's a lot of little pieces.
That's a lot of litter you don't see when you visit downtown. This dedicated staff carriers out their litter walks over 365 times a year.
What would the area look like if it depended on a giant once a year cleanup?
The BID team also includes five regents who serve as smiling guides, assist stranded motorist and escort workers to their cars at night.
Finally, have you ever tried to keep seasonal plantings alive, blooming and beautiful in just one flower bed around your house? If you have then you might begin to realize the amazing job done by full time horticulturist Hap Kern with the BID?
Without the aid of a sprinkler system, the team keeps beautiful arrangements overflowing from 157 different flower beds covering portions of seventy-five blocks.
All these efforts are lead by the always smiling BID Operations Manager Clayton Ratledge housed in the Downtown Alliance.
Mobile is indeed fortunate to have this dedicated group and Clean-and-Lean also wants to thank the visionary leaders who managed to bring life to this great idea seven years ago.
Some cities have multiple Business Improvement Districts all funded the same way so we don't have to stop with just seventy-five blocks.
Sometime you get what you pay for. We are proud to honor them and thankful for the property owners who willingly pay for their extra service.
Let's all tell them thank you when you see them on the street.
PS: With all the physical activity that comes with their jobs, there isn't a single obese employee on the team. Clean-and-Lean is a beautiful thing.
Lean- and-Clean would like kindly issue our first challenge for community improvement.
This is one brought to us by Uncle Joe Sims at McCoy Outdoor.
The neighbors around Murphy High School beg the leaders of Murphy High School to "Lead by Example" and to help Lead the Cleaning of their campus each and every day.
What if Murphy High School was a clean beautiful park setting for everyone to enjoy? Would it be an asset to the neighborhood and the community?
Education is filled with lots of challenges, good people are stretched as it is and we are all grateful for their efforts.
Those are all good reasons to get outside for a Daily Litter Walk every day.
Taking a walk relieves stress and brings about countless positive feelings for everyone involved.
What if the leaders of Murphy High School considered a mental shift to How can Murphy became a Good Neighbor?
What if the Principle, assistant principles, coaches, players and cheerleaders started Leading by Example and cleaning their campus every day?
What if each and every day, each one decided to go out and do a Daily Litter Walk around campus.
What if they picked up every piece of Litter on campus regardless of size every day?
Amazing things happen when you do this.
Each day they would get to know each other and their campus better.
Each day their campus and neighborhood would be Cleaner and they would all be Leaner.
Their Lead by Example effort would inspire other students and teachers to be Lean and Clean too.
What have you got to lose?
It might not help, but it certainly won't hurt.
Please, let's all give it a try.
Thank you very much,
I think this is a great message I saw on a billboard at the entrance to the public beach in Destin, Florida.
Leading by example has always made sense to me.
What if some of our elected officials and other community leaders joined in the daily litter walk?
Mobile has a Mayor, six council members and three county commissioners. Could they all join?
What if the Police Chief, Precinct Captains, the Sheriff all joined. What if the leaders of the other cities in the county joined too?
Then what about school board members, Chamber of Commerce leaders, business community leaders, medical community leaders, doctors, nurses, university and college leaders, school principles and teachers, too.
Wow, just think about the beauty of such an effort.
What if the President and Congress joined, too?
Would it be easier for them to reach across the aisle and work together to fix our country if they all picked up litter together everyday?
Couldn't each of them lead by example each day. Do you think that would have an impact.
Do you think that would be a good example of leading by example?
Having a goal is helpful, too.
What if we set a goal of 1,000 Daily Litter Walkers just in Mobile County every day?
Would our Land be Cleaner and our Water too?
Wouldn't Cleaner Land lead to Cleaner Water?
Doesn't daily exercise improve your health and quality of life? Could we all be Lean-and-Clean?
Wouldn't a Daily Litter Walk help make you be Leaner and your community Cleaner?
What if a good part of our cleaner environment didn't just rely on stronger laws and expensive technology?
What if it came from citizens filling their free plastic grocery bags with litter each day and inspiring others to do the same.
If you're not dying, can you get up and help?
Join your neighbors and take a step and another and another toward making our community a better place everyday.