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Even as a kid, I hated litter. I have always envisioned a clean, immaculate world.

I never once threw my McDonald’s trash out the window of our purple Hornet. Mostly because my crunchy parents wouldn’t take me to McDonald’s. And throwing the wrapper of a nut carob molasses bar out the window doesn’t have the same zing.

As an elementary school student, I often picked up trash when I saw it on the street and would explain with great passion (passion I usually saved for Shaun Cassidy) to anyone who would listen… “DO YOU REALIZE THAT IF NOBODY LITTERED, THERE WOULDN’T BE ONE PIECE OF TRASH ON THE GROUND IN THIS ENTIRE WORLD?!!”

It was so simple! It was so easy! Why wasn’t everyone doing it? But no one really listened to my 5th grade call for action. The world kept throwing their garbage on the ground.

As I grew older, my one girl anti-littering campaign became more of a recycling effort.

Even this past weekend, I was outraged when we visited a local water park and despite the fact that recycling bins were sitting next to the trash cans, few people could take the time to put their empty water bottles into the recycling bin. So I picked them out of the trash can and put them in their proper place.

I realize my impact is very very small. But it’s something. Right?

At home, I recycle whatever I can. I rarely accept plastic bags and always carry a reusable bag in my purse. I try to teach my children that it is our obligation to do these things. We have been given this gift – this gorgeous amazing planet and it’s our duty to protect it. My 7 and 5 year-old nod their heads like they know exactly what I’m talking about and then ask me if they can watch “Fresh Beat Band.”

So I’ve taken them (dressed in pajamas and tutus) to clean up trash at our local nature center.

And this week, I plan to put garbage bags in their hands and clean up a street in our town. I know there will be whining. But they will be rewarded with the personal satisfaction of a job well done.

And some candy.

I hope I am raising children who will join me in my mission for a cleaner, less polluted world.

I hope they will also one day pick plastic bottles out of trash cans. And encourage their friends to do so too. Because we have just one incredible world and it is our responsibility to care for it.

Tell me how you can create a smarter life and better planet, and encourage positive change for generations to come. Comment below to be entered to win a Haier Energy Star Dehumidifier! Official Contest Rules.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Haier. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Contest Rules.

kelcey kintner