Curmudgeons Won’t Win

McMinnville’s TurkeyRama is different things for different people. Few current residents and visitors understand that this area once was a center of turkey farms. Hence the name of the street fair. Just know that this is a small town festival done very well. We expect over 20,000 visitors, not bad for a town of 33,000.

For Zero Waste McMinnville TurkeyRama presents a golden opportunity to do a lot of education in a short period of time. Not only do our volunteers set up the waste stations, but many of those collection points have another volunteer stationed there to help people understand how their trash gets sorted into “Recycle”, “Compost” or “Landfill.”

Then there are other volunteers who walk the rounds to the collection bins and collect the bags. They carry them back to a sort station where more volunteers take each bag and sort again if needed and then the items are dumped in a large bin that Recology provides and removes at the end of the festival.Image may contain: one or more people, shoes and outdoor

Meanwhile, Zero Waste McMinnville also has an information booth this year with a goat kid to draw in the two legged kids and their parents. We also have a wheel of fortune to spin to win a small prize. The kids love it and it gives us the opportunity to talk to the adults.   We want people to understand the need to sort at home and we also need more volunteers. We are a small group and mighty, but we need more bodies. This event, for example, needs over 100 volunteers.   We ask people essentially if they can give 3 hours of their time at least once a year. Image may contain: 1 person, sitting

Most people I chatted with on Friday were excited to share how much they were already doing to sort their recyclables from their landfill trash. More shared how they already carry reusable cloth bags to the supermarket, not waiting to the September 1 ban on the plastic bags. Fewer have home composting but several use Recology’s yard debris pick-up to include compostible items.

But one dude was happy to chat with me but told me no way no how was McMinnville going to be able to achieve only 10% of its trash going to the landfill in a few more years. He said people won’t do it. I asked him if he did and he said he did but he said others don’t. Since his wife was smirking a bit, I asked him to tell me what he already does. Turned out, nothing.

So why are people curmudgeons? Why is change, even a SMALL change, so very difficult?

These people are the kind who don’t bother to make their beds in the morning because they are only going to get into it that evening and mess it back up.  They are the ones who mow every two weeks on a Sunday afternoon even if the growth rate on the lawn needs attention sooner. They are the ones who always order the same thing at a restaurant because they know they like it and no need to try other things.

Appealing to curmudgeons that we need to think of our kids and our grandkids and participate NOW to give them a healthy earth does not work. They are here and now and me me me. Image result for curmudgeon

Thank goodness there are few of them and they won’t win.

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