Gerry Schnepf, executive director of Keep Iowa Beautiful, frequently writes columns for publications.
In a 2011 article, Schnepf said, “Littering may not initially appear to be important; however, it reflects not only a disregard for the environment and the resources but also indicate a lack of concern for the other citizens that appreciate and take pride in a clean and attractive Iowa. It also is a precursor to the potential disregard of other elements of common courtesy and the law, i.e. jaywalking, public nuisances, water pollution, illegal dumping, etc. If we can break one law and get away with it, why not break another law and another law? Soon that type of behavior becomes a pattern of action. It reflects a lack of civility and disrespect.”
The fact that each year more than 100 people volunteer for the Dragoon River Romp should be proof that a clean and attractive Boone County is important. These citizens volunteer their time to pick up waste left behind by others. This sends quite a message.
The Dragoon River Romp is held each year as a recreational education event. Rivers contain Iowa’s greatest remaining tracts of wildlife habitat. People enjoy water. Rivers are some of Iowa’s best places for many types of recreation, from wildlife viewing and fishing to canoeing, kayaking or tubing. This program provides participants with an excellent opportunity to care for our natural resources, while helping to maintain and improve the quality of life in Boone County.
In order to keep Iowa and Boone County beautiful, we all need to treat this scenic and fertile land with care and respect.
Schnepf states, “All of us, and in particular the up-and-coming younger generation, need to develop a behavior pattern that does not include the thought or practice of littering. It may seem to be a trivial or small issue, but when you total it up, the cost is staggering. In many cases, it can also lead to other negative behaviors. If I can throw something out and litter and not get caught — then maybe there are other laws I can break. Pretty soon the small laws become bigger and more significant, leading to a society without rules or with a great deal of gray or lack of clarity to society. It is the rule of paying attention to detail and following all of the laws — not just the ones that suit us.”
Let’s take on this positive behavior pattern and teach our younger generations that we do care about what we are leaving them.Information provided by Lois Powers, Keep Boone County Beautiful Coordinator.