Leave a Place Looking Better

I love the concept of Guerrilla Gardening. It’s where people find neglected patches of public space that is a blight to the local community and go in at night and plant a garden to make the place more beautiful. You can take a look at how it is done here:

The entire concept compliments one of the lessons that my father always instilled when we went camping and hiking — always leave a place in better shape than when you arrived. That meant that before we broke camp or while on the hiking trails, we picked up litter even though we weren’t the source. It is something that I try to continue to this day and no matter where I walk, I will still stop to lean over and pick up a piece a trash and put it in a nearby trash can on almost a daily basis.

It’s all part of the Broken Window Theory which states that ignoring the little problems — graffiti, litter, broken windows — creates a sense of decline that leads people to accelerate the destruction of the area. When good people ignore the trash, others feel free to increase it.

So, the next time that you are out and about, take a few seconds to leave a place looking better than when you were there in whatever way is appropriate. Not only are you cleaning up the area, you are discouraging others from making it even worse. Feel free to leave a comment on ways that you have helped to leave places looking better or relevant stories about cleaning areas up — each will add 10 cents to the microloan fund.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the rss feed which will add 25 cents to the microloan fund for each new reader. Most of all, thank you for doing your part to make the world a little bit better.

11 thoughts on “Leave a Place Looking Better”

  1. I remember studying Broken Window in Urban Sociology classes in undergrad…and now in grad urban studies classes. Leaving things better than you found them is a wonderful (and simple) motto.

  2. I love the idea of picking up litter, but it’s a lot harder to do these days. Due to all the security measures, most public trash cans no longer exist.

    It drives me crazy when I see someone litter, especially cigarette butts. I wish I had more confidence to confront those people when I see it happen.

  3. A good aim, leaving a place better than when you got there.

    Just be a little careful with guerilla gardening — there are some places that may look like prime candidates but are actually important bits of habitat for local creatures. I’d suggest keeping it to clearly developed areas, just to be safe. You pretty much can’t go wrong with picking up litter anywhere, though!

  4. I love it when I see people walking and have a bag with them to pick up litter. I pick up trash when I see it too. It would be so nice and so easy if everyone did their part. Especially to not litter in the first place!

  5. I LOVE this idea of guerilla gardening! Gives me some ideas for my own hometown! Also agreed on leaving a place better than when you came. I am raising children, and I want them to learn to love the world that they live in and to respect it and take care of it, because it doesn’t take care of itself. Thanks for posting this!!

  6. I should invite you all over to come and clean my apartment and cubicle at work. ^_^ Guerilla maid service! Hehe, just joking.

  7. Actually, DG – a group of friends and I were talking the other day about helping each other clean out our clutter. It’s not a bad idea. Everyone gets a clean house and someone to spend time with while we do it.

    Interesting that someone would call the police because people were in their neighborhood planting trees.

    I am going to suggest this to my friends and see if we can find somewhere in our town that could use a little Guerrilla Gardening.

  8. Huh, I live next door to an empty lot, I wonder what the HOA would say if I planted something there…prolly nothing since most of what I plant dies.

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