Extreme Sustainability

I work at a place ordinarily populated by about 25,000 people daily. Mondays through Fridays. Except in the summer. When it’s three. People.

Beginning in September and through early May, the place is a beehive of activity. It’s so busy, in fact, that regulatory signs are required to direct people where such activities as skateboarding and bicycling are not permitted. Same thing for smoking. Except, of course, marijuana which is OK everywhere.

Directions as to when staring at one’s digital device and avoiding eye contact (and all the other annoying pedestrians) is appropriate have not yet been implemented. But, as with so many things, with patience this too shall come to pass.

It is, you may have by now guessed, a college campus.

Each year, about a week before a gigantic one-day, all-day festival takes place, someone removes all of the public, outdoor trash receptacles. Garbage cans, that is.

The festival typically draws up to 30,000 people. Now, taking off my socks, that means that on that one day there are nearly 50,000 people in one space. Albeit a rather large space. That’s the population size of the town I grew up in.

Within just a few weeks of the gigantic festival, commencement is held. A celebration of smartness and the beginning of indentured servitude that has long been awaited and eagerly looked forward to. Peculiar as that sounds: “Oh, great, now I get to (go to) work!”

Like the gigantic festival, the commencement ceremonies draw a substantial crowd. Everyone from goopy grandparents to irritating siblings, prideful parents to overtly bored teenagers.

Still, no garbage cans.

This must be the neatest place on the planet with equally neat people. We’re all so-very-sustainable that we produce no garbage. Hard though this may be to believe.

Or, if we are producing garbage, apparently, what we are to do with it is take it home with us. For the absence of outdoor trash cans can have no clearer and plainer message.

I guess I didn’t know that I worked at a national park.

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