Conservation Station: "GIVE A HOOT, DON’T POLLUTE"

By Stacy Martin on September 21, 2012 from Conservation Station via

We have all heard this saying before, but maybe it’s time to reintroduce it. The week of September 17-23 is designated as National Pollution Prevention Week! As much as I promote conservation issues and appreciate weeks or months being dedicated to certain causes or issues, I’m beginning to lose sight of what each week or cause I should be dedicated about. I understand that all issues and causes deserve an equal shot at promotion, but I think these groups/causes are becoming so widespread that people are becoming non-reactive. When I was growing up I don’t remember weeks or months being dedicated to causes, I remember slogans, National days (ie. Arbor Day), and the month of February being dedicated to heart health by the American Heart Association. At some point, every other cause jumped on the bandwagon in hopes their “day” or “month” would reach the same height of interest. Some have, but most haven’t and I believe the barrage of dedicated weeks is desensitizing the public.
I loved the ribbon idea and know some of the colors well – pink for breast cancer, purple for domestic violence, and my most recent introduction to black/yellow for melanoma cancer. But again, I believe the public is becoming desensitized by the ribbon (with the exception of pink). As a domestic violence prosecutor, October was designated Domestic Violence Awareness month and I wore a purple ribbon every day during October. People always asked me what the purple ribbon was for and it was my opportunity to discuss the issue. But now every cause seems to have a ribbon color and people are becoming less interested in their meaning. For example, a comprehensive list of ribbon colors and their associated meanings. Did you know the dark blue ribbon is the symbol for arthritis, child abuse prevention, victim’s rights, free speech, water quality, and water safety? If I wore a blue ribbon today I doubt anyone would know I was wearing it for water quality and I seriously doubt anyone would even ask why I was wearing it – either because they don’t care or because they don’t want to feel ignorant for not knowing what it represents.
So as much as I promote the cause behind National Pollution Prevention Week, I’m not going to wear a ribbon or ask the city to drape a banner across Main Street. I’m going back to what I believe works – good old slogans and symbols! Woodsy Owl taught me “GIVE A HOOT, DON’T POLLUTE!” It grabs your attention, it’s catchy, and it says what it means. So spread the word!
Although Woodsy Owl is an icon for the United States Forest Service and taught a generation to care enough not to pollute the forests, today it can be used to reach a whole new generation. Everywhere you look owls are popping up – they are the “in” thing from decorations and clothing to cake pops and party themes. No better time than now to reattach the wise old owl to conservation issues. Now when you see all those owls in the store the slogan “GIVE A HOOT, DON’T POLLUTE!” should stick in your mind.
It’s meaning goes much further today as well. Not only should we not pollute our forests and parks, but we should not pollute the land, water or air. Pollution of our land, water, and air affects our health, our loved ones, our community and our future. Small steps now by everyone can make a huge impact. There are many ways to prevent pollution of the land, water or air. Some of the ways I have discussed in previous blogs, but the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection gives 40 ways for you to prevent pollution in a great checklist that you can print off for easy reference. It is a “Green Poll”, as well, that you can take to help the State get information. Read the list and see how many ways you already help prevent pollution. Then take it a step further pick another way you can change your lifestyle to dedicate to preventing pollution. The list can be found at
Another vital way to prevent pollution this week, is to help Bridgeport win that $100,000 grant money from the SC Johnson Green Choices Recycle Challenge. If you aren’t recycling, then start, and record your efforts to help boost Bridgeport in the challenge. Don’t continue to pollute the landfill!
So even if you aren’t old, be wise – prevent pollution! Reintroduce yourself and your kids to Woodsy Owl and the slogan “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute”! Click on this site for a great flashback And if you have an owl displayed inside or outside your house or you have clothing with an owl – let people know it’s your way of promoting pollution prevention.

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