Keeping Their City Clean


By Joyce Amaro, LA Stormwater Public Education Manager

“I’m keeping the city clean!” my 4-year old son announced as he reached to pick up a piece of trash in the parking lot of our local supermarket this past weekend. I smiled (and cringed!) as he picked up a dirt-encrusted coffee cup and proudly placed it in a nearby trash can. This is something my son does almost daily. He picks up litter he finds in the gutter. He points out cigarette butts on the ground and angrily informs me that bad people put them there. Driving to preschool, he tells me that we should turn around and pick up the plastic bag we just passed because sea turtles mistake them for jellyfish and get hurt when they eat them.

My young son is a proud defender of the environment, which isn’t hard to believe since collectively his parents have more than 40 years of experience teaching Angelenos about the importance of keeping trash and pollutants out of our creeks, rivers and beaches. By the age of 3, he was telling anyone who would listen that storm drains go straight to the ocean, that trash belonged in trash cans and that he would “spank anyone who threw their trash in the street.”  His conviction about keeping our waterways litter-free makes me smile, and his crusade to keep his city clean always warms my heart. It’s something that I want and need to nurture in this ongoing era of climate change and dwindling natural resources. It’s also something that inspires me to do my part as well. Because of him, I continue to pick up those pieces of trash I see when I walk down the street. And, yes, I’ve even been known to turn my car around and snag that drifting plastic bag before it blows into a catch basin. I thank him for doing his small part to keep his environment clean and for inspiring me to do the same.

Do you have any budding environmentalists in your life? What are they doing to keep their city and environment clean? How have they inspired you to change your own behavior? Do they help you recycle? Have they participated in a beach clean-up?

Share your stories with us. We’d love to hear how the next generation is keeping Los Angeles clean. E-mail us your story at [email protected] by Wednesday, July 18, 2012 and we’ll enter you into a contest to win free  child tickets to the LA Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Three  random winners will each win two child tickets to enjoy Los Angeles’ world famous zoo. We’ll announce the winners on our Facebook page on Friday, July 20. Good luck!

Thank you to the Los Angeles Zoo and Togo’s for the ticket vouchers.

Photos courtesy of Heal the Bay and definity_falls.



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