are called to assist the earth, to heal her
wounds and in the process heal our own--indeed,
to embrace the whole creation in all its
diversity, beauty, and wonder.
--Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner
David Morgan and Sara
When David Morgan took me on my first cleanup along the
banks of the Animas River in Durango, Colorado, over 12 years
ago, I had no idea that the road I was on would eventually
lead me back to my own lost connection with nature. Through
years of walking in streams, on trails, and along roadsides
while collecting recyclables and trash, I’ve seen plant,
animal, and insect life up close, thrilled to the sweet sounds
of the bird’s song, and felt the warmth of the sun
or the pleasing sting of the rain on my back. The beauty
I’ve seen has inspired me to make the world a cleaner,
safer place for all living things. It taught me that the
good health of humans is linked, firmly, with the good health
of every other living system. For example, the worst effects
of Hurricane Katrina would have been much less devastating
if New Orleans had a healthy, functioning wetlands surrounding
it. The Solutions formed as a group on the premise that each
of us can be beneficial to the world around us, and that
for every challenge there is a solution.
Sara Melnicoff and helpers
We promote the rethink, respect, restore, reduce, reuse,
and recycle lifestyle through a variety of projects, but
the cleanups are especially dear to our hearts. Together
we have removed thousands of pounds of recyclable cans, bottles,
and other materials as well as trash from our neighborhoods
and canyons and “redirected” it to Canyonlands
Community Recycling and other recycling venues. We publish
a free recycling directory for the Moab area, work with the
City of Moab on the Friends of the Parkway and the Center
Street ball field recycling programs, assist SITLA (State
of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration)
in cleaning up dump sites, make ourselves available to help
any group with its Adopt a Highway section, and much more.
We would be happy to advise you in how to best set up a recycling
system in your home or office, or offer tips on how to reduce
your impact on the earth and create beneficial effects. Visit
our website at www.moab-solutions.org for a complete list
of projects. We welcome all comments, suggestions, or project
Solutions are talented and giving folks. Here are the musings
of a few of them! --Sara Melnicoff
I started to recycle and pick up trash when I was
a teenager. I had a few special places where I would
go to dream and I would find litter and recyclables
all around--sometimes it was really disgusting. If
I wanted my special places to be clean, with no broken
glass, I would have to clean them myself.
Then I realized that everywhere I looked there was some
kind of trash and recyclables, so I took it upon myself
to remove it. The birds started to sing; the area came
alive with much love and peace. Mother Earth was pleased
and blessed me with many things through the years.
Now, having a group of wonderful people that gather together
and go out anywhere and anytime and remove recycling
and litter while they talk and laugh is a great joy in
my life. If you can, come and join us for a group cleanup
and listen to the birds sing and feel Mother Earth shine
on you. Solutions is a win-win for you and the community. --David
My family and I have been recycling for many years.
We have always thought that it was important not to fill
up the landfills with recyclable materials. My children’s
families continue to recycle now. When my husband and
I retired back to Moab in 1996 we began cleaning up litter
and recyclables along the roadways and walkways of the
area. It is satisfying and rewarding to see the difference
it makes in the environment.
When the Solutions group was formed I thought it would
be great to be involved with an organization that believed,
as I do, in the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle philosophy. Besides
cleaning up the environment and recycling, Solutions also
wants to educate people (especially children) as to the
importance of recycling.
When I taught elementary school, one of the units we covered
was on ecology--the importance of not littering, pick up
litter if you see it, keep the air, water, and land clean,
and recycle or reuse what you can. It’s really important
to educate the next generation in these areas. We hope
that we can interest more people in becoming a “Solution” to
the problem! --Carol Hoggard
I really, really dislike litter. For decades, I have
left campsites cleaner than I found them, even in campgrounds
charging an entrance fee. Because I dislike what litter
does to the face of Mother Nature, I carry empty bags
with me so I can pick up other people’s tossed
cups, bottles, and cans. I even picked up litter when
I used to jog the city streets in Orange County, California.
After Sara started the Solutions, I marveled at her vision
and tenacity. I knew I had to support her efforts in any
way I could. Because I am often out of town during scheduled
Solutions cleanups, I support Sara and David’s efforts
to clean littered sites and to increase recycling awareness
by helping with Solutions’ technology needs.
I have had a great time on every cleanup I have attended.
I invite those who still haven’t participated in
a cleanup to join the group one of these days. You’ll
be glad you did! --Ann Gordon
We are honored to be part-time Solutions here in
Moab and engaged in such a worthy effort. Having spent
the last five winters here from our home in Vermont we
can see the amazing differences Sara and the Solutions
have made over time. It is no easy task to collect, process,
and redistribute all the litter so thoughtlessly tossed
on the highways and around the beautiful canyons and
trails but the Solutions are trying.
Even more admirable is that not only do the Solutions beautify
the places we drive through and hike in but they teach
folks how they can do their part with very little effort.
Recycling is such an easy habit to adopt at home or work!
Solutions also researches alternatives to the growing number
of recyclables found on the roadways. One of the ways some
states handle this increasing problem is to implement a
bottle bill. Being from a state that has adopted the bottle
bill we see firsthand the contrast when there is not one
in place. Each aluminum can and glass or plastic bottle
gets redeemed for a nickel, so in Vermont littering would
be like tossing away money!
We have done recycling and cleanups wherever we have resided
but Sara and the Solutions make it very fun and rewarding.
Sara has a wealth of information about all things connected
to the environment and she is happy to share her knowledge.
Next time you see the Solutions out doing a cleanup, donating
their own time and money, please let them know it is appreciated.
And if you wish to stop and pitch in for a few minutes,
drop-ins are always welcome! --Susan and Tony Botelho