Interview of Judy Linda Horn

Sandee Scott

Keep Our Mountains Beautiful

We’ve interviewed Judy before, but she has more experience now and even more passion for the cause. Thirteen years ago, Judy Linda and Susie Tomlinson organized roadside litter cleanups in North Fork.

In 2007 they joined forces with others to form the organization Keep Our Mountains Beautiful (KOMB). Since that time, with the efforts of volunteers throughout EMC, literally tons of litter has been removed from our roadways. When you hear Judy talk, you see the passion she has for recycling, ridding the community of litter, and beautifying the Mountain Area.

Scott: You have devoted many hours toward picking up other people’s trash. Don’t you get tired of it?

Horn: Yes of course, but then I think about the example we, as a group, are setting. We keep on keeping on . . .. Hopefully others will see the need and join us. And I really would like to see litter cleanup as a part of community service for low-level criminal offenders. Say someone has a traffic violation. Perhaps they could put in 6-8 hours of litter cleanup instead of paying a fine.

Scott: In your opinion, what are the major sources of roadside litter?

Horn: Since we were able to encourage the county to enforce the covered load policy, our roadside litter has decreased. That said, we now find more fast food trash, liquor bottles, and odd things like clothes and shoes. I think that careless locals, who just toss trash because they are idiots, are mostly to blame.

Scott: Do you have any theories or comments regarding the personality of the purposeful litterer?

Horn: Yes, from the trash we collect, I figure the typical litterbug eats fast food, is a cigarette smoker, drinks beer, and engages in x-rated behaviors in cars.

Scott: What are some of the most interesting things you have found while participating in cleanups?

Horn: There is no end to the weird stuff we pick up. We have found money, underwear, sunglasses, toilets. Sometimes we find little kids’ school work on the road, as if it just blew out the window. During the last cleanup I found an inside-out umbrella that made me think of Mary Poppins.

Scott: How is it that you’re so passionate about this cause?

Horn: In 1970, my high school senior class participated in the first Earth Day to clean up a beer-bottle-infested section of road in Kingsburg. That experience had a big impact on me and changed the way I look at tossing trash out of cars.

Scott: What do you think parents and teachers can do to train the next generation to be good earth stewards?

Horn: I taught my kids to “pick up 5 a day” - 5 pieces of trash per day. If everyone followed that practice, we would have a much cleaner environment. Teaching our children at home and in school about not littering, and calling out others who do, will go a long way.

Scott: What do you think it will take to truly prevent roadside litter?

Horn: I think that education is first, then punishment … Fines for littering is already in the law, we just need enforcement of those laws.

For more information about KOMB, write to komb4emc@gmail.com.