Taking Care of the Environment by Helen Luu

MY NOTE: Helen Luu is one of the writers in our Creative Writing group. Because she lived in China and Vietnam before moving to America, she has many wonderful stories about her life in another culture. This essay about GARBAGE is interesting and thought provoking. Thanx, Helen

                     Taking Care of the Environment  by Helen Luu

As human beings we never protect our environment until the climate change became an important issue around the world.  I saw the film shown by our friend Pauline Rosenberg at New Horizon Senior Center years ago.  There were tons of garbage floating in the ocean. I felt disheartened when I saw whales or fishes gulped down some of it. Some animals are at risk of extinction because of the poison from our trash. We are the killers.

I grew up in Vietnam. Every morning people swept their sidewalks and the streets in front of their houses with their brooms. The garbage truck came early every morning to collect the trash. I never ever saw plastic bags flying into the air when the wind blew out like here. Moreover, we had very little left-over food; if we did, we saved it in a big container. Someone would come to pick it up to feed pigs. The city was clean.

In Taiwan, people do the same thing as we did in Vietnam. People sweep their sidewalks with their brooms and pick up any trash on the streets in front of their houses. Every family has three bins, one for the trash, one for recycled products and another one for left-over food. The trash truck comes out every evening around 6 pm to collect the trash and left-over food. On the back of the truck there is a big bucket for the left-over food. They have to bring their recycled products to the recycling site.

One thing amuses me is that the trash truck played music of the Maiden’s Prayer. When people hear the music from blocks away, they know the trash truck is coming soon. They do not want to miss the truck, so they rush out to their front doors with their trash/leftover and wait for the truck. The truck comes and stops at one point, then people walk to the trash truck to dump their trash/left-over food accordingly. No trash worker takes your trash. People have to dump it themselves.

We lived in an apartment on the fourth floor in an alley when we were in Taiwan in 1975. I was told by our neighbor how to take care of the trash by listening to the music of Maiden’s Prayer.  That means the trash truck is coming, we had to take our trash and wait for the trash truck at the entrance of the alley. The trash truck would not stop long, so we had to wait for it.

Every evening I had to strain my ears to listen to the music of Maiden’s Prayer for the trash truck coming. At that time, I was so annoyed why they put such beautiful music for the trash. I felt they abused the Maiden.

Today I have a different interpretation, that this is a beautiful way to protect our environment.

Japan is the cleanest country. There was no trash at any place, even at the train tracks.  When I visited Japan in late 1990s, I could not find a trash can in the city for my lunch bag. I was told to bring it back to the hotel to dump it in the trash can. People have to bring their own trash home to dump it in their own trash can. I think it is the basic practical way to protect our environment. Japanese is no struggling to follow the suite.

The USA is a richer country but does not do better to protect the environment than other poor countries. Plastic bags/container are seen everywhere, on the sidewalks, streets, highways and train tracks. When the wind blows out plastic/paper bags are whirling into the air.

So ugly!

Why could not we follow the instruction to separate our trash in the recycle bin?

How can we do better to protect our environment and become environmentally friendly?

The answer is we do need many, many advocates in the White House.

A Meaningful Earth Day Poem by Harvey Davis

My Note: April is Earth Day Month, or as I call it, Earth Day Every Day and is also National Poetry Month. And today is actually Earth Day. This poem by “elder-statesman/poet,” Harvey Davis, the very senior member of our Creative Writing group, penned this poem for class that is at the core of Earth Day and the future of our home.

Thanx, Harvey!

Earth Day concept. Hand holding a leaf and earth

Save for Our Children

by Harvey Davis


Is there any place on this earth that is not affected by climate change?

The way that we have treated this world should be to our shame.

We say that we love our children dearly and will do anything for them.

But regarding climate change our actions and our words do not blend.
We want our children to have proper nourishment but disregard the land.
Sensitivity to the needs of the land and good food go handinhand.

We poison our water and then wonder why we are malnourished and sick.

Can good results ever come out of bad planning? Do you know that trick?
Let’s go to the year of 2021 and see what we can profit from and learn.
Each generation has the chance to contribute and change; now it is our turn.

Travel to the faroff land of Australia in January; do you remember the bush fire?

More than 18 million hectares destroyed and more than 400 died, no one’s desire.
It was right here at home that hurricanes caused more than $60 billion in damage.
People were quick to complain about the high costs; complaining was the rage.

We had the chance to change our ways and make corrective action.

Unfortunately, help was nowhere to be found and good rules created no traction.

There were disasters in Australia, the US, and countless places in between.
Devastating floods in Indonesia; the rain would not stop coming, it would seem.

Cyclones in India and Bangladesh created havoc, leaving trails of destruction.

Again, people died; do you think these catastrophes provided any instruction?
Showers not only in Australia but India, Japan, and China for months, not days.
Europe did not escape from windstorms, that cost millions in trade.

Wind and rain in many parts of the world caused billions in damage to repair.

Why is it that we count only when the damage is done? Is it we just don’t care?
We can see the climate disasters any, and everywhere in the world we live,
But we appear to just ignore what is happeningto change what would you give?

Would you prefer to be continually surprised by what mother nature can do

Or will you join with other forwardthinking people and good science pursue?
Is it coincidence that the relatively few people who make money on our present path
Control the way we treat climate change, conveniently ignoring the true math?

What kind of world are we saving for our children? We need to come up with a plan

That will protect our children from the disasters sweeping across the land.
Celebrate Earth Day by honoring Mother Earth in some way: Recycle/Compost, Have a Meatless Earth Day meal, write a poem about Earth Day, meditate on Mother Earth, Plant a Tree…..
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