Consider the Litter

AS SCA commemorates Earth Day, we’re sharing nationwide youth perspectives through The SCA Climate Survey, tales of SCA members’ service across the country, and virtual #SaveOurSphere programs online.

We also have a poem from Ida Lewenstein of San Mateo, CA.

Ida, who turns 90 next month, adopted a conservation ethic as a child, one borne of necessity as much as a concern for nature.

“I was brought up in the Depression,” Ida states. “We had to save and do without a lot, and my mother was very conservation minded.”

Later in life, Ida chose a path of service, first as an elementary school teacher and then as a social worker. After raising her family, she taught English as a second language for decades in war-ravaged El Salvador.

Of late, Ida has turned to writing children’s books and environmental verse, along with frequent checks to support SCA volunteers. We appreciate her generosity and ongoing concern for our young people and our planet.

When Ida sent us her sonnet, “Consider the Litter,” she likely did not know that mounting litter is routinely what first spurs teens into SCA’s community programs. They can’t stand seeing their neighborhoods trashed, and step up to forge change.

It’s been much the same for Ida, who started collecting and recycling waste long before Earth Day got its start in 1970. So what better way to mark this annual event than to post Ida’s poem and perhaps inspire a few more people to #SaveOurSphere.

Consider the Litter

By Ida J. Lewenstein
 
Consider the litter
We so willingly disown –
It keeps right on growing
With a life of its own.
 
It’s out there!
It’s down there!
It’s around every turn.
We neglect it –
We reject it –
It’s not our concern.
 
It slips from our fingers
And on to the street.
But we keep right on walking –
Never missing a beat.
 
The wrapper – the bag –
The Styrofoam cup
We hope some do-gooder
Will soon pick it up.
 
It’s curious
That we humans
With our superior brain
Act in ways that are
Hard to explain.
 
But deep in the jungle
And way out of sight
There’s a group of monkeys
Who do things just right.
 
They know a good way
To leave their place clean.
And under their tree
They leave no messy scene!
 
You see, they’re the sort
That eat all of their meal.
They first eat the banana
And then eat the peel.
 
I think from these monkeys
We can all take our cue
And eat our snack food
As these bright creatures do.
 
Oh, how I wish
For an edible dish –
And an edible can and cup.
Oh, what a treat
To walk down the street
And find there’s no trash
To pick up!