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Pacific Ponderings

Plogging on Paddy's Day in Paradise

It’s St. Patrick’s Day—a good day not only to wear green but to act green. So I went “plogging” this morning. “Plogging” is a new craze from Sweden that combines exercise with environmentalism. Ploggers pick up trash while jogging. The word is a mash-up of “jogging” and the Swedish word for “pick up.”

I read about “plogging” in the Washington Post a few weeks ago. The article said it was a new fad, but plogging is not new here in Laie. John and Rhonda Bell have been ploggers for years, toting plastic sacks as they walk in the morning to pick up litter along the way. They set a great example for all of us. Think how much cleaner the streets and beaches would be if we all plogged when we were out enjoying our runs or our swims in the sun.

A couple years ago I wrote a Pondering essay encouraging everyone to stop, stoop, and pick up litter when they saw it—to plog—and not to litter in the first place. On this green holiday, I want to renew this message.

We should be a people that practice “malama aina”—care of the earth. This is not just a traditional Hawaiian value. We believe that God invited Adam and Eve to take good care of their garden home. To my knowledge, this Divine injunction has never been rescinded. So we have a sacred duty to care for the earth, which Heaven seems to have forgotten to curse here in Hawaii.

When President McKay dedicated the campus, he praised the Saints in Laie for cleaning up their village. Then he challenged them to “Keep your yards beautiful. Keep your streets clean and make it [Laie] an attractive village, the best in the Hawaiian Islands.” I reiterate the Prophet’s founding charge.

I was so pleased on Saturday a couple weeks ago to see hundreds of students going out to participate in projects to clean up local North Shore sites, such as the James Campbell National Wild Refuge and Waimea Valley. Likewise I have joined many times with members and students to clean up local beaches. This work fulfills our Father’s commandment to take good care of our earthly home, repeated by President McKay at our founding and embedded in an indigenous ecological ethic. It makes our community a little more like Zion.

So let us not only wear green but act green to keep our campus and community clean and beautiful. Pick up trash on the streets and beaches, and don’t litter. Make every place you live a bit more beautiful than it was when you arrived. Be a plogger in paradise not only on Paddy’s Day but everyday.

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