By current standards, where Americans feel the need to take sides, my grandpa would most likely be a Republican. As a boot-strapping carpenter and home builder in Missouri, he was a child during the Great Depression. His family scraped by to make ends meet. He spent most of his days physically working to exhaustion building homes, enduring the scorching heat of the summers and the cold and wet winters of the Midwest. He never wanted to rely on the government for help and was the epitome of self-reliance. At 70 years old, the family has pictures of him installing a new roof on his home. He never stopped working.

He passed away twenty-five years ago as the world began to rapidly change with technology and economic globalization. In today’s political climate, he’d have little tolerance for big government and would most likely reject the Democrat’s policies. He’d be inclined to take sides with Republicans and advocate for smaller government, reject government health care, climate change initiatives, etc.

Here is the thing… Grandpa was also an environmentalist…

He lived near St. Louis, but purchased a fishing cabin about two hours south in the Ozark Mountains in the 1950’s. He spent his weekends fishing and hunting in the area with grandma and their three children. The cabin was situated on the banks of the Gasconade River, teeming with smallmouth bass, catfish, bluegill, crawfish, bullfrogs and more. It was paradise in the natural world.

In the 1980’s, after thirty years of immersing his heart and soul on the river, understanding it’s movements, seasons, floods and droughts, a mysterious foam appeared on the surface of the water and grandpa knew the river was being harmed. Generally, a mild-mannered man, he was filled with anger, knowing someone was causing damage to the environment. He set out to find the origin, talking to local officials and business owners to find the source. Of course, he was blocked by powerful people and the true source was never discovered. It was rumored that a local factory was dumping soap by-products and raw sewage into the river, but it was never confirmed.

The foam stopped, though. Grandpa did his job, fighting for what was right, knowing our precious natural resources needed to be protected.

The point of this story, of course, is to highlight that people are more complex and practical than often noticed with a quick first impression. Today, we automatically put people into categories – right and wrong, left and right, science and religion, etc. It’s not that simple. It never has been and it never will be. Grandpa fully supported capitalism, but he strongly rejected bigger businesses polluting. It wasn’t moral or just and he fought to make it right.

At Galvanize Recycling in Colorado Springs, we recognize that, you, the residents of our beautiful city are also complex and diverse in your beliefs. You are not single-minded. You care about others and want to do the right thing, no matter your political beliefs. We know a military veteran who served oversees and experienced the perils of war gives high priority to protecting our environment and natural resources. This person stands alongside the liberal activist walking the sidewalks at Colorado College or the hippie planting trees in Manitou Springs. The environment is a unifier. It brings us together. We all share the same space in this beautiful landscape. No one wants this precious resource to be abused, no matter their beliefs or political orientation.

We may argue all day over a lot of things. But a responsible care for our environment is not a divisive topic.

At Galvanize, we are here to help. We retrieve hard to recycle items from your home and redistribute them to organizations designed to make a difference. This includes certain plastics, electronic waste, paint, light bulbs, batteries, cycling and outdoor gear, household thrift items and more.

We help you help the environment and the community by keeping these items out of the landfill and supporting causes that enhance our city.

As a child in the 80’s, I heard my grandpa loud and clear. His actions continue to vibrate and create energy for Galvanize Recycling. We work hard (like he did) for you and the community, with the intent of keeping it clean for future generations.

Thank you for being a part of the Galvanize Recycling family! Please reach out with suggestions and feedback. Follow us on social media and sign up for our e-newsletter here.