It's not like I'm Captain Planet or anything

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- I stopped to pick up a candy wrapper, one sunny afternoon in the park. No big deal, it's not like I'm Captain Planet or anything. Just picked up some trash.

Then I saw a discarded straw.

And a piece of paper.

"Are you picking up trash because every day is Earth Day?" asked my six-year-old daughter. "I'll help you!"

"I sure am," I said, kind of shocked at her statement.

But she was right.

I had one of those moments of realization, considering her little words and the large impact they suddenly had on me.

The Air Force's core values, which we are supposed to display at work as well as home, reinforce green ideals. How can one destroy the planet with integrity? How can you have excellence in all your litter?

As stewards of the Earth, we should be decent enough to pick up after ourselves. I'm willing to bet that the majority of us wouldn't discard garbage in our own front yards, so why is it acceptable to throw trash around public areas like parks and roads?

Recycling is an excellent way to get the most out of our resources and avoid putting tons upon tons of garbage into the ground at landfills. While not mandatory on base or in the surrounding communities why not separate your plastic and aluminum from your garbage and chuck them in the bin by the Commissary?

To some, Earth Day might seem like a hippie celebration of recycling and Priuses (Priusi?), but doesn't the principle make sense? Why not do one little thing every day?

For example, buying 20 bottles of water for five bucks is a great way to avoid the questionable-smelling and tasting tap water in the area off-base, but think of all of those bottles you throw away.

Several companies make filtering devices that can be attached to the kitchen faucet, taking the stank out of the water, and keeping tons of plastic out of landfills. Just one little thing, when done daily by a large amount of people, will certainly add up.

I think back to that day in the park. The grass was green and trees were budding -- such a welcome sight after a bitter winter. My little girl took a five minute break from the monkey bars and changed her world, making the song of spring a little sweeter.  And so should we all.