Driving through the outskirts of Mexico City on the way to Valle I was astonished at the amount of garbage lining the streets. Amidst the rolling hillsides, open pastures, small modest homes and very hungry looking livestock were plastic bags, paper and liter of all kinds.
Forget landfills, it seems that people in Mexico simply disregard trash receptacles and use the side of the roadway as their dumping ground. I'm sure that the problem extends much beyond this area in Mexico because there is no reason to assume that their habits are any better or worse than those of people anywhere else in the world.
It's interesting to me how there is such a prominent push for "green" in our society right now and yet we are still unable to achieve basic things like putting our waste into a trash bin. While driving in Mexico City on the way back to the airport I even saw signs about green conventions coming to the city this summer. So obviously, green is not just an American obsession.
But, how can we make a move to become more environmentally friendly and how can we be focused on finding new, cleaner resources when we can't as a society be responsible enough to pick up after ourselves? It seems to me that until the public can become conscious of something as small as throwing their garbage away that it is completely unreasonable to think that they can care enough about making larger changes in their habits.
So, maybe the green movement really needs to start smaller. It needs to start with an awareness about our immediate impact and the things that we can each control. I think too many people are waiting for big solutions, waiting on other people to make the changes, when in reality it will be the cumulative effect of the smaller solutions, like picking up after ourselves, which will ultimately make the biggest difference.
We all play a role and so it is up to each one of us to do our own part to be responsible, green citizens.