Don’t go scrambling for the Mass schedule; it’s not a holy day of obligation, but Earth Day is a holy day and caring for the earth is an obligation.
By far the best church document ever written about caring for the earth is “The Ecological Crisis: A Common Responsibility” penned by Pope John Paul II for World Day of Prayer for Peace, Jan. 1, 1990.
No greening at the ballpark: Since Earth Day and the Milwaukee Brewers both got their start in April 1970, this is a fitting day to reflect on any connection between the two entities. In short, there is none.
If you have ever walked near or through Miller Park parking lots during and after games, you will see more trash than you’ll find in the worst slum. Add a strong wind and that garbage makes its way onto the grounds of the Zablocki VA Medical Center, Miller Park access roads, the Hank Aaron Trail and the Menomonee Valley. That’s why had I not heard this with my own ears, I wouldn’t have believed it (there’s a reason I was named after Thomas the Apostle), but an orange-chomping security guard told a guy collecting cans one night that the Brewers had a “policy” that prohibited people from collecting cans in the parking lots. He said the team had its own recycling program, too, with specially marked containers in the parking lots.
I’m not sure if the can collector was oblivious or just used to being told to get lost, but without looking up, he just walked away. I just shook my head, smiled and walked away, too. While respectful of most policies, I couldn’t resist when a few steps down the sidewalk, I saw an aluminum can. I confess; I picked it up. By the way, a check of the Brewers’ Web site lists no such policy nor does it tout a recycling program. Other than three Dumpsters per lot that include the words “fans recycle” on them, there is no program. Unlike the parking lots at Lambeau Field, where it is evident aluminum cans should be — and are — recycled in the helmet-covered barrels, the Brewers have no such system.
What is bizarre about this is that a team barely playing .500 ball because it lacks consistent starting pitching, doesn’t have strong catching, and gets its most consistent play out of two 39-year-old guys is concerned about people picking up aluminum cans. With all of the concerns the team has about being competitive on a limited budget in a small market, can you imagine an off-season conversation between team owner Mark Attanasio and vice president of business operations Rick Schlesinger, in which the former asks the latter, “Rick, what have we done about those people who are picking up aluminum cans in our parking lots? That has got to stop!”
Next we’ll be hearing Robb Edwards announcing at the end of each game: “Fans, this reminder as you make your way to your cars. The Milwaukee Brewers ask that, for your own safety, you do not pick up aluminum cans in the parking lots. Thank you.” I wonder if Edwards could do that without chuckling?
I know; it’s ridiculous. So is the idea that youth groups, environmentalists, homeless people and anyone else who has a valid reason for collecting aluminum cans have to stay away from Miller Park parking lots. The outfield grass might be green, but the Milwaukee Brewers aren’t.