What inspires you?

By Rodney Nash

[singlepic id=308 w=320 h=240 float=right]Recently I was asked why I participate in community activities and, specifically, why I am working with the City of Memphis’ Storm Water Program in Cooper-Young. My reasons are varied and numerous. It has taken me some time to dig and to get to the core of it.

I spent many wonderful days as a boy out in nature in the Michigan countryside. We lived outside of a small town and we had no trash pickup. Once a week we hauled our entire accumulation of household waste to the local dump. Over several years the size of that dump never seemed to grow. The man who ran it, along with his family, culled what could be reused and recycled, like scrap metal, and pushed the garbage and yard waste to the back, covering it with dirt to decompose. This proved to be a fairly sustainable system before the advent of mass consumption.

Although I saw images of landfills over the years after that, it wasn’t until I started restoring an old home here in Midtown that I actually had reason to visit one. A friend and I took a load of roofing to dispose of and, once inside the gate, we pulled up to the edge of a hole in the ground the size of the Liberty Bowl Stadium. It was freshly dug and being filled with trash. The dump trucks and bulldozer working down at the bottom looked like toys. I was in shock. Something shifted inside of me. That experience stayed with me until I eventually decided I had to do something.

Not long after I was encouraged to learn that the city was starting a curbside recycling program. A group of us worked quickly to ensure that one of the first routes to be established would be in Cooper-Young. The recycling program helped our city slow the pace at which the land was being filled with refuse. This convinced me that there are solutions and that there are ways that our increasing populations can live more in harmony with nature.

The only thing that gives me any peace of mind about the oil spill in the gulf is thinking that there will be some positive outcome from it. It may prevent a larger disaster later and possibly push us into alternative energy more quickly. I know it will inspire many to start living differently and motivate some of us into taking action now.

By the time this issue is out the Storm Water Program will be underway in our community. We will be labeling and adopting storm drains and working to raise awareness about groundwater issues in general. This will be an ongoing process that you can participate in, as there are over 200 storm drains in our area. Contact me at rnash57@yahoo.com or the CYCA at (901)272-2922 if you have identified one near you to adopt and/or label, if it hasn’t already been done.

Some other things you can do right now:

  • Participate in curbside recycling
  • Reduce consumption, packaging and transportation in consumer purchases
  • Buy locally grown, healthier food at the Memphis or Cooper-Young Farmers Markets, on Saturdays, or the Trolley Stop Market at Madison & Manassas
  • Donate reusable items to the many organizations that collect them or place them at the curb the day after your trash pickup to give them a chance to be reclaimed before they are hauled away by the city
  • Compost
  • Collect pet waste and flush it
  • Take metal, paper, electronics, and other items to reclamation sites listed in the yellow pages or online, such as 5rprocessors.com
  • Be conscientious in the use of anything that might end up in the groundwater system
  • Keep the storm drains clear
  • Contact me at rnash57@yahoo.com for more information on how to live a greener life


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