Submitted by Barb Dust
As a member of the Lansing Human Relations Commission, I was thrilled to see the winning entries in the Vehicle Sticker Contest which featured the theme, “Litter Free Lansing.” It is so appropriate that art should be associated with an anti-littering campaign because both are centered on the role of beauty in our lives.
Some people might not see the connection, but a litter-free environment can have an impact on our mental health, just as having beauty around us can. A littered environment can cause us to feel anxious and stressed and somewhat depressed as it implies that no one cares about the community. Lansing has a Beautification Committee and a Garden Club who work to plant flowers around town. These add to the beauty of our environment. Now we need to mobilize the public to get behind the anti-litter campaign as well.
Some simple acts we all can do would be:
1) Place a trash bag in our cars and empty it when we get home.
2) Secure the lids on our recycling toters so that the wind does not carry papers around the neighborhood.
3) Business owners can send a crew out periodically to clean up the area around their businesses.
4) The Village could look into installing more waste bins and anti-littering signage around town.
The artwork by the young people can lead the way. Hopefully this campaign will be a cause for discussion among friends and families about the harms of littering to a community. Litter happens when a person feels his own personal convenience is more important than caring for the environment. The students’ art shows us another way. Cidney Parker’s recycling bin, which will appear on the sticker, will serve as a daily reminder to use that bin. DeEric Gilbert’s second place drawing is a dramatic image of the earth with a light shining down upon it. I interpret that light as the light of people who care. And Elizabeth Alons’ third place drawing sums it up perfectly with the motto urging us all to “Give a Hoot.” I would urge everyone to view these drawings on display at the Municipal Center.
Another type of art work has been popping into my mind lately as I consider the anti-littering campaign. It is that of a mosaic, where every little piece is important to creating the whole. There is a piece of mosaic art hanging in the Lansing Public Library. It has hung in the library since I was a little girl, when the library was at the corner of Ridge Road and Chicago Avenue. It depicts the state of Illinois composed of hundreds of tiny pieces of glass. I hope we can all now do our part in piecing together and maintaining the beauty of Lansing.