Looking to make a difference in your community? Eighty-seven year old, Nels Olsen, has some advice for you.
For the last three or four years, Olsen has been walking the streets of Lake Cowichan with his walker, voluntarily picking up garbage, litter, and cigarette butts off the side of the road. He claims that it’s simply a hobby, and that it gives him something to do that simultaneously helps keep his community clean. Being a lifelong resident of Lake Cowichan, he truly cares about his town, stating that he “wouldn’t live anywhere else.”
Olsen says that he was inspired to clean up the roads in his spare time while going for walks with his new walker a few years ago.
“I noticed all the garbage thrown on the streets, so I thought, ‘well, I’d like to start picking that up,’” Olsen says.
Olsen has always been community oriented, having volunteered with programs like Meals on Wheels. Now, he has simply found another way to serve his community.
“I wish more people would do it,” he says, a wishful expression in his eyes. He is referring to doing simple things to make a difference in the community.
There’s always garbage on the ground, Olsen says. His advice is very straight forward.
“If you’re going by, pick it up.” If we all did that simple task, the community would always be clean.
“It always amazes me,” he says, shaking his head, “(that) I could go every day and pick up fifty to a hundred cigarette butts, and I think, how could (people) not notice?”
Perhaps Olsen speaks the truth. Maybe we get so caught up in our day that we fail to notice how clean and beautiful the town really is.
Instead, we continue to pollute it with litter. And maybe, we should all follow in Olsen’s footsteps.
If you walk by litter, pick it up. If you have garbage, put it in its proper container. Most of all, no matter where you are, care for your community as if it were your past, present, and future, just like Lake Cowichan is to Olsen.
Lauren Frost, Gazette Contributor