The only way forward, if we are going to improve the quality of the environment, is to get everybody involved
If you are of a certain age then you immediately associate Keep America Beautiful with their iconic ad campaign featuring a crying Native American. Although having been parodied by almost every modern satirically driven sitcom (including The Simpsons, South Park, Married with Children, and Futurama), Keep America Beautiful is no joke. The national organization has been working tirelessly since 1953 to do just that: keep our communities clean and beautiful.
Those efforts are carried on by the local Keep America Beautiful affiliate, Keep Toledo/Lucas County Beautiful. “The first thing people assume,” says Adam Cassi, the local affiliate’s Executive Director, “is that we are part of the city or county government. Of course, we work closely with both of those governments but we are a local non profit. Our sole purpose is to promote green initiatives and sustainability throughout our local community.”
Not Just a Litter Problem
Cassi, who holds a degree in Restoration Ecology from Defiance College, has obvious passions about the subject. “Reducing litter is a perennial problem,” he states. “Certainly that is a founding mission of our organization. However, with an emphasis on green processes and initiatives, our organization is much broader than its initial mission.”
Cassi demonstratively has the chops to lead KT/LCB into the next couple of decades. Besides his degree, Cassi has participated in the School for Field Studies program via Boston University, doing research in Queensland Australia. He has also interned with the Bureau of Land Management.
“Our mission boils down to four initiatives,” states Cassi. “Reduce litter, improve recycling,
educate about how to recycle properly and environmental stewardship.” KT/LCB partners with the City of Toledo, the Lucas County Solid Waste Management District, and other area organizations to provide adult and youth education programs focusing on proper recycling, litter preventions, and environmental stewardship. Additionally, KT/LCB assists with litter cleanups, administers an adopt a street/road program, and assists with large event trash and recycling logistics.
Preserving the Future with Action Today
“There is a lot of talk in government and retail about reducing single use plastics,” mentions Cassi. “That is certainly hot right now and we are happy to be part of that conversation. What we bring to the table isn’t just how we fix one problem or get rid of a pesky news story. Our entire philosophy is to work across the public spectrum of our community…with schools, universities, clubs, non profit organizations, business and of course the government. Our goal is to create a culture of sustainability and litter free neighborhoods.”
Although a lofty goal, KT/LCB and its national affiliate has never flagged in this commitment. The local chapter has excellent programs to highlight the problems of recycling and litter reduction targeted at all ages and interests. Between Cassi and the organization’s Education Specialist, they are currently serving over 5000
youth through environmental programs, educate nearly 1000 adults on proper
recycling, partner with local organizations to clean up nearly 120 miles of road
through their Adopt a Road/Street program, provide over 8000 trash bags for
litter cleanups, and just over 4000 boxes for event trash and recycling
“Many people think that the problem is too big to tackle,” says Cassi lightly. “Just the other day I was giving a seminar on the perils of plastic to a group of kids. One asked me, quite bluntly, ‘are we doomed?’ After we all chuckled my response was of course not. First and foremost we must understand the issues we face and work together to solve those issues.”
Cassi, along with his staff and over 550 community affiliates across the country do not just pick up litter or tell people to recycle, but communicate about the importance of environmental stewardship. “It all comes down to choices,” Cassi says with emphasis. “Information is the only way we can make better choices about when and how we use our resources. Our goal is to provide that pallet of information across all generations. Armed with environmental facts, we can as a community, work toward a result that will last for generations to come.
August 8th, 2019
Join KT/LCB for an exciting afternoon of education at Hensville, then stay for the game afterwards and The Toledo Mudhens and KT/LCB pair up for a day of Going Green on the Green.
(A portion of all proceeds go to supporting KT/LCB)