I did my goal this week of picking up litter because I was out of the house to notice the litter. This week, when it was a beautiful 20 degree day, I went out to do errands for a school project. I noticed a lot of garbage in the Walmart parking lot, so I picked up what I saw on my way from my car to the front doors. There was a McDonalds soda cup and a bunch of other garbage that had been sitting there so long that I could not decipher what it is. A parking lot isn't a nice place usually, but the litter made it look worse. To pick up litter made me feel good, but it didn't feel like I made much of a difference because of the location and the fact that probably no one saw me pick it up. Acknowledging that I wanted to be seen picking up litter makes me think that not being witnessed being an engaged citizen makes the act less meaningful. This made me consider, do we perform citizenship for the sake of others, or to validate our actions? Or do we do it for personal gain?
A representation of throwing out garbage is decluttering, which my family has been doing for my mother this month as she has been diagnosed with new health concerns. This is a form of getting rid of/throwing out unneeded items. This felt better than picking up litter in the parking lot because there is personal gain that I receive from decluttering which is making a space for my family to enjoy. Does this representation of picking up litter/clutter illustrate engaged citizenship although it is within my own home, a private space? I also notice that decluttering/removing litter from the house also declutters my mind by having a clear space to enjoy doing whatever activity is being done. I'm curious about the psychological affects of consistently seeing litter outside in the streets, maybe there are non.