On Progress

During the President’s State of the Union speech, President Obama noted that China, Germany, and India “are not playing for second place.”

I believe our president had to do that because a cloud of malaise has descended upon the country. Columnists around the country are lamenting our decline. Two weeks ago Roger Cohen wrote an article entitled “Exit America” speculating what the world might look like if China becomes a superpower and the United States has retreated back to the Western Hemisphere in 2040, just last week Thomas Friedman wrote an article warning his readers that participants at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland were concerned about rising “political instability” in the United States. Last year Slate magazine published a “Choose Your Own Apocalypse” series about the decline and fall of These United States. Even William Kristol acknowledges the possibility of decline.

Without agreeing or disagreeing with these commentators, I think people believe we are in a funk. Everyone is facing deficits, from Capitol Hill to City Hall. Despite the very real concerns from the aforementioned writers, I am happy to report that our community has made progress in a very tangible area: recycling.

These tables below are are not new, but they are still worth publicizing. Before the Environmental Policy Commission started drafting the Eco-City Alexandria Charter and the Action Plan, residents and business could not recycle as much as they can today. Take a gander at the charts below to see the progress we have made.

Recycling Yes/No Chart in Alexandria, 2010

Keep going…

Recyling Yes/No List in Alexandria, 2008

..and look at the progress we’ve achieved! Now we can recycle prescription bottles, bottle caps, and plastic bags!

No matter how bad it seems, we can make a difference. The actions that individual people take in our fantastic little community do matter. We are making change, even if it’s not as rapid as we might like. Print the new chart here and tape it above your recycling bin and/or trash can to remind yourself to keep up the good work. Check out Transportation and Environmental Services’ website for more information about the our recycling program.

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