2017 will be the year that KALB celebrates our 40th anniversary. Our organization, originally known as Athens-Limestone Clean Community, was established in 1977 as an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, with a concern for litter education and abatement.
Our organization has certainly evolved since that time, adding recycling and beautification to our efforts. But the original purpose of this organization has not changed. We are still working to educate our community on the dangers of litter and instilling community pride so that the littering will stop.
It is a difficult challenge because KALB cannot do this by ourselves. Our mission is to empower citizens of Athens and Limestone County to take greater responsibility for enhancing their community environment. This is not a one-man job. It requires government leadership and participation by businesses and individuals throughout Athens and Limestone County.
As I was looking through historical data reflecting on the history of KALB, I came across an article written for a Clean Community newsletter in 1982, author unknown. It spoke loudly and clearly as to the role of KALB and the role of the community in keeping our city and county roadsides, rivers, and parks clean and beautiful. Here are some excerpts from that article.
“What do you perceive as the role of the Clean Community Commission in Athens and Limestone County? Because of some comments heard recently, the Commission feels there are many mistaken ideas about the role of the Clean Community Commission (now known as the KALB Commission).
Commission (sic) members are not supposed to meet every Saturday morning on Hwy. 31 to pick up the median so everyone can ride by and wave and tell us ‘Hey, you are doing a great job – how about picking up the off-ramp from 31 to 72!’ Our job is not to call people with uncut lots and demand that they have them cut. Our job is not to demand that businesses ‘clean up their act’ in order to get a pat on the back from Sparky. Our job is not to purchase flowers and shrubs to plant all over town for your enjoyment. Our job is not to organize mass cleanups once a year to clean up Athens-Limestone County ‘once and for all.’ Our job is not to spend every day at the recycling center sorting cans, newspapers and office papers.
So, what is Clean Community? What do they do? Why do we need a paid coordinator if they don’t do anything?”
The article continues to share information about the Commission, which currently consists of 18 of some of the best volunteers Limestone County has to offer. The Commission’s task is to develop programs that offer YOU the opportunity to help improve YOUR community by learning more about the sources of litter and the many ways it affects us, how recycling makes a difference, and why beautification efforts can increase property values and decrease crime.
Working toward a clean community is an education process. KALB constantly tackles that in classroom across the county, at events such as our Elk River Cleanup, Earth Day & Outdoor EXPO, and litter-free Fiddlers Convention. KALB’s Facebook page, our website, and articles such as those in Athens Now contribute to this education process. Becoming a litter-free community will happen when enough people make lifestyle changes that will make a difference.
As stated in the 1982 article, “Clean Community is YOU doing YOUR part wherever you live and work to make sure the sources of litter dry up. It is only when each and every citizen does his part that Clean Community will be successful. We need your ideas and volunteer hours, so call us. The Clean Community System is YOUR volunteer program for a litter-free community.”
Please do your part each and every day. Learn why litter is harmful so you can make personal changes and teach others not to litter. Recycle all you can. Add your spot of beauty to the community by planting flowers and keeping your property clean.
I have been in Athens since 1999. I have seen Clean Community evolve into Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful with added programs, classroom presentation, and educational community events. I have seen change take place and KALB didn’t do it. We only provided the tools for YOU to make it happen.
By: Lynne Hart