Monday, May 16, 2016

One Harmless Cigarette

You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.” - Jim Rohn

You have seen this same thing most anywhere you go. Cigarette butts laying near the intersections of our roads, along the curbs of sidewalks and tossed down the alleys of our cities. It is a regular habit of many people to toss these out their window.

Do these particular cars come without ash trays?

We have also seen those who do use their car ash tray, pull up to an intersection, open the door and dump their ashes and cigarette butts on the ground. Could it be that all of these people believe cigarette filters are biodegradable. In fact cigarette butts are not biodegradable in the sense that most people think according to folks at CigaretteLitter.Org. It can take acetate filters many years to actually decompose.

They go on to say, "What happens after that butt gets casually flicked onto the street, nature trail, or beach? Typically wind and rain carry the cigarette into the water supply, where the toxic chemicals the cigarette filter was designed to trap leak out into aquatic ecosystems, threatening the quality of the water and many aquatic lifeforms. Cigarette butts may seem small, but with several trillion butts littered every year, the toxic chemicals add up!"

In the compiled results of a shoreline cleanup day published by The Ocean Conservancy, volunteers in 68 countries covered a combined 34,000 miles of shoreline and collected 7 million pounds of litter, 80 percent of which had been washed from land into the water. Of the 7.7 million items of debris collected worldwide in 2006, cigarettes and cigarette butts accounted for roughly 1.9 million, the sixth consecutive year they have topped the list.

Within cities the cost to clean up these small and seemingly insignificant eye sores is astounding. In San Francisco, annual clean up costs run close to $11 million; a cost that is shared by taxpayers. It is $11 million that could have gone to parks, school funding or other needed public services.

But there are many that only consider themselves.

In surveys, many smokers blame their littering behavior on a lack of well-placed bins for cigarette butts. Yet, would these same people toss a cigarette out at the curb of their home. There is no handy trash bin available along their driveway at home, so is it littered with cigarette butts? Somehow I doubt that is the case.

Ashtrays have been available in cars for quite a few years. The excuse of no nearby trash bin does not work for the car driver. Although the mindset not to dirty their own property is the same one which keeps them from dirtying the ash tray in their car.

Yet no thought is given to tossing, also known as littering, a cigarette butt elsewhere. My point is not to single out just cigarette smoking as there are plenty of other examples. All of us share in many seemingly harmless bad choices.

There are many acts of responsibility which go undone.

A German pastor, theologian, and anti-Nazi dissident, Dietrich Bonhoeffer said “action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.” Each of us need to take on responsibility for life around us. To look beyond our own self and see that everything we do impacts others.

By taking others into consideration when making our decisions improves life for all.

It is not just about you. It is about all of us.

Stop for a moment and think about your actions. Take responsibility in these small areas of your life will mean added responsibility in bigger areas of your life. Take on both the big and small responsibilities and see it change your life for the better.

Stay inspired my friends!

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