Eagerly acting locally

By the editorial board

Mark Currin picks up trash along the land around Little River Durham's reservoir during creek week.
Mark Currin picks up trash along the land around Little River Durham's reservoir during creek week. bthomas@heraldsun.com

“Think globally. Act locally.”

That mantra of the environmental movement dates to the first Earth Day, the 47th anniversary of which is just a few weeks away.

It’s long been embraced by activists and anyone truly concerned about protecting the resources and safeguarding he future of our planet. Perhaps in these times of dispiriting retreat from environmental policy at the federal level, we should cling even more tightly to what we can do in our own small ways -- small ways that cumulatively and collectively can still effect significant change.

That thinking infuses activities such as Durham’s annual Creek Week now underway. Since the first Creek Week in 2009, nearly 2,000 volunteers have plucked 117,270 pounds of litter from within and along county waterways. But for their efforts, much of that litter would have found its way into lakes that help provide our drinking water.

“Here in Durham our city lakes are our drinking water, so we like to keep them as clean as possible,” Stacy Stone, recreation assistant supervisor with Durham’s Parks and Recreation Department told The Herald-Sun’s Rachael Riley as this week’s cleanup proceeded. “And any way we can engage the community in protecting our natural resources, we’re happy to do.”

The parks department organized Wednesday’s effort in partnership with Keep Durham Beautiful, the overall instigator of Creek Week. It is very much a grass-roots effort. People taking part in the cleanup were enthusiastic about the opportunity to take part.

“I love being outside,” Carolyn Huettel of Durham said Wednesday. “I love nature, and I’ve always picked up trash all my life.”

Mark Currin was another eager participant around Little River Lake. “This is city water a lot of people end up drinking, and there’s great fishing out here and we don’t want it ruined,” he said.

“In ecological terms, ‘think globally, act locally’ recognizes the fact that environmental protection is a global problem, but one that average citizens can address by making efforts in their local communities,” the website reference.com notes. “For instance, the problem of trash in landfills is an enormous one from a global standpoint, and a single person might feel powerless to address the issue. But by making small changes in one's own life, such as reducing waste and increasing recycling efforts, an individual can do his or her part toward solving the problem. If enough people pool their efforts on a local level, the effects is much greater.”

Durhamites clearly want to be a part of that important effort.