beautiful Japanese tree

Where in the World is it Litter-Free?

It was while riding my bike and really taking note of what was in the streets, that I got back into picking up trash. What I do is something I feel compelled to do. My vision is to create a global movement of dedicated citizens who will work toward a litter free world.

For my lifetime, it is a worthy goal and I know there are others that feel the same as I do. I’m happy to work on a one year plan and a 100 year plan.

I do know that there are great populated areas of the earth that are litter-free. It was in 2008 when I took a class in Shinto and Buddhist Wisdom in Kyoto, Japan, and saw, no experienced what those two perspectives were for myself.  That trip was life changing.  The fact that there was no litter initially really surprised me. Then I  was able to really get beyond that and enjoy much more of what I was seeing, all around me — from the ground up.

The ground is a wonderful place to focus and see beauty. It is so sad that we in Broward, and much of the U.S.A. are not taking advantage of this natural, everywhere “canvas.” For Japan, I would say the entire country wasDSC05181 litter-free. Everywhere I went, even off the beaten paths there was no litter. Not in the wealthy neighborhoods, nor the poor ones, all native Japanese respected their space and worked together to keep it clean and beautiful. Near Kyoto we visited Deer Park, where, as the name suggests, there were lots of very friendly deer freely roaming about.

Ongoing cleanup at Deer Park

Ongoing cleanup at Deer Park

At the drop of deer’s poop, we observed the shopkeepers immediately coming out to attend to what the deer naturally left behind, brushing their poop into containers specifically designed for the job.  As this park was an international attraction, and I can assure you that should some unconscious tourist litter, the Japanese would be there to maintain their sense of cleanliness and respect for nature. If you cannot see the expression on the two “sweeper’s” faces, I will tell you that they are smiling and look like they are enjoying the day.


After Kyoto I visited Tokyo, the city with no trash cans on the sidewalks and no trash anywhere I could see. That trip to Japan changed the way I view my own backyard.

I’ll be working on a short film or documentary exploring the process of working with others to develop and maintain a litter-free zone, and once created, to maintain that space.  The film ‘s intention is to be inspirational for other areas, communities to take on the challenge and share their positive experiences and to share what worked and what didn’t work. Learning from each other to understand how to effectively get people onboard to support clean spaces.  I had thought to begin this process with the hotel right down the beach, maybe the neighboring small town, but hey, why not try doing it in my own backyard? After all, it’s only one building.

How hard could it be? 

Contemplate how that success might feel.

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