You never know what you might find when you pick up litter, and I decided to pick up ANY money I found during the past year of picking up litter (even if it was just a penny) and for anyone wondering how much money is in this picture, below are the statistics...

$1 Bills - 54 = $54
$2 Bills - 1 = $2
$5 Bills - 19 = $95
$10 Bills - 3 = $30
$20 Bills - 10 = $200
$50 Bills - 3 = $150
$100 Bils - 1 = $100

TOTAL = $631

Pennies - 4,372 = $43.72
Nickels - 274 = $13.70
Dimes - 431 = $43.10
Quarters - 293 = $73.25
Half Dollars - 2 = $1.00

TOTAL = $174.77

Grand Total = $805.80


It should be noted that some of the money I found was so damaged that I couldn't just walk into a store and spend it. So I would like to share the following pictures which demonstrate some of the various ways that money can get damaged when it ends up on the ground as litter...


I find a lot of cellphones littered on the ground, and here are 100 smashed ones I found in the road. (When I find phones that aren't too damaged, the police station where I live will try to find the owner.)

A lot of people in recent years have been talking about the benefits of using cellphones less often, and of having less "screen time" in general. And although I might end up in the "Guinness Book Of World Record" someday for having the largest collection of cellphones if I don't stop finding them littered on the ground, the truth is that I don't even know how to use a cellphone because I have a condition known as "telophonobia" which is a silly sounding but very real phobia of phones, so I've still never had a cellphone and would like to share my perspective on this subject.

Back when I first started doing these clean-up projects, I started by just picking up litter that was in my own neighborhood, because that was where I lived, and I had never been to a lot of the other neighborhoods in my area. But I quickly got hooked and found that the more I did this kind of work the more often I wanted to do it, and I eventually found myself going beyond my own neighborhood and into neighborhoods that I had never been to before to do these clean-up projects. (Including the ones that I had always thought of as "bad neighborhoods".) Then to make things more interesting, I started using the city bus for the first time, and I made it a point to go someplace that I had never been to before every day to pick up litter. And after going through a big stack of monthly bus passes, and walking down just about every street in the city, and doing it alone, and without a phone, and without knowing anyone in any of these areas, I want to say that not only has nothing bad ever happened to me, but a lot of strangers I've met have been almost "too nice" to me...

Because these clean-up projects involve a lot of walking and lugging around heavy stuff, no matter where I go strangers will keep pulling over to offer me a ride, and I will typically have to say, "No thank you." to them multiple times before they will finally stop asking and drive away. And because I do these projects even during extreme weather, the more intense the weather gets the nicer people will be to me. During the summer on really hot days strangers will pull over just to ask if I'm going to be OK working outside in the heat and if they can go and buy some cold water for me, and sometimes people will even try to give me an umbrella or an extra coat on days when it's raining or snowing. And because I made it my mission to pick up EVERY piece of money I found on the ground in the past year (no matter what) there were dozens of times when I would be trying to pick up a penny that was in the road or stuck in the crack of the sidewalk, and I guess they would think that I must REALLY need money if I was doing that, so they would pull out their wallet and start trying to give me money! People will also come up to me sometimes to thank me for doing what I'm doing and will end up talking to me for a really long time, and I've ended up meeting so many friendly people this way, and have seen such a good side of people, that it simply wouldn't make sense for me to suddenly go back to being fearful of strangers and to automatically start imagining the worst case scenarios whenever I encounter someone I don't know. (Like I had the tendency of doing back when I didn't get out that much, and my view of the outside world was shaped mostly by the News.)

I don't doubt that there is crime in my area. After all, "littering" is crime, and there are MILLIONS of examples of this crime in my area that are piled up outside and in plain sight for all to see. But out of all the crimes that are happening right now on the planet, I believe that "trashing the planet" is ultimately the most serious and dangerous crime of all, which is why I feel motivated to do what I do.

Because of these projects, I spent more time outside and less time looking a screen in the past few years than in any other years of my life. And I know that what I am about to say will probably sound completely backwards to anyone who did the exact opposite of that, and anyone who has gotten used to being bombarded all day long by the media with stories about crime, riots, racism, sickness, and war, but I honestly have never felt safer than I do today. And when it comes to my "optimism", what I would like to say is that because of how many strangers have tried to help me without me even needing or asking for help, not only do I believe now that if I ever truly needed help someone would want to help me, but I also believe that there are a lot of "Good Samaritans" out there who would want to help the environment if they realized how badly the environment needed help, and if they realized that there were a lot of things that they could do to reduce the negative impact that they are having on the environment and increase the good.

I also want to say that if I had a phone, and I had the habit of looking down at it a lot, not only would I probably not have spotted as much money as I did, but I could have easily missed out on a lot of the little things that end up being the most meaningful. Even subtle things like a kind smile from a stranger or noticing that the reason a busy highway suddenly came to a complete stop for about 30 seconds was to let a small family of ducks safely cross the road will all add up in our minds and shapes our overall view of the world around us, and the more that I immerse myself outside, the more reasons I find to smile and feel grateful, and the more that I want to find ways to express the love and appreciation that I am feeling.

I started picking up litter in my neighborhood because I wanted to do something to help make the world a better place, and because it got me to really get out and explore, and because it got me to spend so much time outside that I started to base my view of the outside world on my actual experience in the outside world, the world actually is a much better place to me now, and that is the priceless treasure that I found while doing these projects, and I want to encourage everyone to go out and find this freedom, peace of mind, and real connection for themselves.