Tuesday, April 28, 2015

New wardrobe

Monday afternoon I was thinking about going to get that microwave I saw in a ravine north of the 327 James I. Rice Playground but I didn't make it that far.  Instead I went down the side of a hill just south of the playground to a spot on the river that I had started cleaning a few weeks back.  Heavy wet jackets, pants and the usual assortment of bottles, cigarette packages, styrofoam cups, water bottles, hot sauce packets.  I find a tremendous number of hot sauce packets along the river.  By the time I climbed up I was kind of tired and the trash can was several hundred feet away.  I decided to call the city 311 number instead which is what you call if you have a problem that is only 34% as problematic as a 911 emergency.  They connected me to the Park and Rec department. I explained my problem and I asked if they could send someone over to haul this stuff away and possibly look for that microwave.  The guy I spoke to was very nice and suggested I sign up to be an "official" volunteer.  (I might but I don't like to be supervised!) The problem with stuff along the river's edge is that it might not technically be park property so who is responsible for cleaning it. We are fortunate to have many parks in Minneapolis but only so many dollars and workers to take care of that much property.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Homeless camp cleared out

 This abandoned homeless camp of dirty blankets and sleeping bags has been in the same spot along the river for the last several months.  That spot is about 50 ft from the James Rice playground on West River Parkway.  The playground was full of families today.  I got tired of seeing this junk so I hauled it up today.  The trash can was too full to place this stuff inside.
A little further down from the hobo camp.  Microwave? Who brings this stuff here to dump along the River Parkway trail.  This is maybe a project for tomorrow morning.

Lily is blooming.

The lily I found down by the river on Easter morning finally is blooming.  What I didn't notice before was that it is in a pot.  The pot had been hidden by rocks carefully placed around the base.  It was desperate for some water.  I could have used a crappy styrofoam cup at this point but most of this stretch of river has been cleaned.  Dang! OK, I guess I can dip my hands into the river.

Saturday's haul

Fishing tackle, baby booties, toys, baby diapers, and plastic, plastic, plastic!
Over the fence and on to government property?

This blue tarp is still there.
Saturday was the official earth day gathering for folks joining forces to pick up in their own neighborhoods and parks.  Frank from another apartment complex downtown manned the card table in the parking lot on 1st Street offering volunteers gloves, bags and KIND bars.  Unfortunately there are too many places along the river front that involve climbing down a cliff to pick up the trash.  I could use a canoe.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The scoop on the soup

This is the container of soup that I brought home yesterday.  Under that little green tree in the photo it says post consumer fiber. Wednesday, April 22nd was earth day and here in Minneapolis the city gave notice to restaurants that this is the day that they must start using recyclable containers for take out.  The city says it will enforce the rule but I wonder if they will or not.  During the past few weeks on my walks through the skyway system, I started to really notice which restaurants are using styrofoam containers and which have made the switch to ecofriendly products.  It's about half and half.  Wednesday I stopped into The Washington Square Cafe, one of my favorite spots for a quick lunch.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the styrofoam soup containers gone and replaced with the new containers.  I decided I had to thank someone.  Stephanie, the manager explained that Eurest (Compass is the parent company) had made the change to their other cafes in downtown.  She says it was important for them to do it. It is also important for me to vote with my soup dollars and choose the restaurants that will make this change.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Joining in on the fun

 Thanks to Carol in Springfield, Illinois and Marianne and Bob in Stillwater, Minnesota for picking up some trash this week.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lily on the shore

I've been waiting for this lily along the shore to bloom for the last few weeks.  I think it's getting close.  I thought I had gotten most of the trash off of this particular stretch of shoreline, but it is a busy picnic spot because there are a nice set of steps that go right down to the river.  With tax day yesterday a few folks probably needed that Sierra Nevada Nooner along with the pack of Newport smokes.  I don't know why but that is the most popular brand of cigarette packaging I find on my walks.  I picked up some cigarette butts today.  Even though the bottles and cans take up most of the bulk of what I find there are far more cigarette butts than anything else anywhere both in downtown and along the river.  You really can't begin to pick them all up.  It's not about getting people to stop smoking but providing them with places that they can dispose of their butts. There's good reason that we don't want this stuff in our rivers and landfills but can they be recycled?  See what New Orleans is doing to clean up their cigarette butt problem.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Over the fence

Another day of fantastic weather here. I got my 60 year old ass over that fence and down the hill to the shore to one of the many spots that is really trashed up.  Fishing bobbers, hooks, flip flops and a page from Key West and Cuba (Random House 1984).  "Ernest was never very content with life unless he had a spiritual kid brother nearby".  More water bottles today than liquor bottles.  Why do we buy bottled water (Nestle) from drought stricken California, ship it to Minnesota retailers so we can avoid drinking our own perfectly good tap water?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday morning on Nicollet Island

What fantastic weather for a Sunday morning walk.  I walked over to Nicollet Island and realized I had forgotten my trash bags but then you can find them anywhere....in the trees and stuck on bushes.  Some fun folks left their bottles in a nice spot for me.  It was just like an Easter egg hunt.  The interesting thing about today was that we met four other people on a walk doing the very same thing.  I couldn't help but ask them about their experience. One older couple on the island brings bags on their walk and tries to pick up the glass and plastic. A couple of guys walking around St Anthony Main told me that they collect trash EVERY day.  Competition? I think there is enough trash for all of us to pick up.

Free Bike

Out walking yesterday on a beautiful afternoon with camera and trash bags. This bike along the river won't fit in my Target bag and anyway it's on the other side of a fence that is technically government property managed by the Upper St Anthony Falls Lock and Dam and the Army Corp of Engineers. There is a strip of land behind their fence that is desperate for a spring cleaning.  I think I'll call them next week. I walked up river to my usual spot along the river that is easier to access.  I've just about finished cleaning up a stretch that is about 100 feet long.  While I was there three young guys were sitting on the steps.  One of the guys was recounting his story of heroism.  He was walking by one day and there was a guy floating in the river just off shore.  There was no choice but just to jump in.  He thought he was dead for sure. By the time he got him back to shore the police were already there.  That guy was extremely drunk but not dead.  He would have eventually floated over the falls and that would have been the end of him.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Fireworks on the river

More trash picking today along the river.  Socks, gym shorts, chip and candy wrappers, pop, water and liquor bottles, bits of paper and cardboard.  All the usual stuff.  I spotted a pair of brown pants in the bushes just out of my reach.  I'm coming for you later.  A pack of Desert at Night fireworks was washed up on the shore.  Made in China it's a seven shot pack that begins as a fountain and ends with colored bursts. Fun! I picked up a bunch of small pieces of styrofoam packaging. That stuff doesn't get recycled here and doesn't break down in our landfills either. Check out decomposition rates at the ways2go green website.  http://www.ways2gogreen.com/DontThrowThisAwayDecompositionRates.html
Apparently Minneapolis banned styrofoam packaging used in restaurants decades ago but have just failed to enforce it.  Starting this Earth Day on April 22nd, the city plans to step up enforcement.  I see plenty of restaurants starting to use compostible cardboard containers already.  The public can call 311 if they want to report violations.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter walk

I like to walk.  A few weeks ago I started taking a Target bag with me on those walks.  I thought I could pick up a few bits of trash along the way as long as I'm out there anyway.  Hey Target, I could use some more bags and a bottle of hand sanitizer. It is amazing how much SHIT there is along the river in downtown Minneapolis. I'm starting at the Hennepin Avenue bridge and going upstream towards the Broadway Bridge.  I haven't gotten much further than that yet.  There are interesting things that you find along the way.  Daniel I found your medical insurance card and Sally I now have the security code for your house.  (Don't worry, I threw them both away).  Someone tossed their instructions on how to communicate in regard to child custody issues.  How will you know when a situation calls for routine communication vs urgent, emergency, or professional communication.  I see trouble coming for you and your ex.  On today's walk there were an unusual number of pill containers with a white powdery residue.  Yes, I was wearing gloves.  Vodka is still the most popular drink along the river.  I've had several folks stop and thank me in the last week and that makes me feel excellent.  Today I was honked and hissed at by a big Canadian goose who did not care for my activity, but I wanted that bottle near the shore.