52 Weeks of Neighboring - Week 16

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Neighboring Tip of the Week - Take a walk in your neighborhood and collect trash.

Welcome to a new day, and welcome to June!

This week’s neighboring tip comes to us from Neighboring Movement co-founder Matt Johnson, but he borrowed the tip from his mom, Glenna, so we give her the credit (for a great idea and for a clean neighborhood). 

Glenna began taking walks around her neighborhood a few years ago, and upon doing this, she started to take bags with her in order to pick up trash. Her theory is that people are more inclined to litter if they see litter and less inclined to litter if they do not see litter. The loop Glenna walks is one mile, and she takes two grocery bags with her in which to place the picked-up trash. At the beginning of her experiment, she would often reach the half-mile mark and already have filled both of her grocery bags. A sad tale, you say? Take heart! Over time, the amount of trash present in the neighborhood has decreased drastically. Now, Glenna frequently reaches the half-mile mark without seeing a single piece of trash, proving her own theory.

Along with this story, Matt expanded upon the practice of picking up trash. An element of being a good neighbor is recognizing that we can shape our community. In Glenna’s case, this meant picking up trash, but there are many other ways this can happen, as well. Sometimes people don't reciprocate our efforts, but we have often discovered that, eventually, people start to join in and help because neighboring begets neighboring. 

For Glenna, this tip not only meant walking in her neighborhood and picking up trash but also meant engaging in conversation with her neighbors. Her countless walks led to neighbors recognizing her, and neighbors recognizing her led to neighbors having conversations with her. This brings us to our final point: this tip is really about being present in our neighborhood. Beautifying our block is an awesome, secondary benefit. 

Happy neighboring!