Re: “The Emerald City has lost its luster under heaps of trash” [Feb. 4, Opinion]:

I’ve considered Seattle home for 14 years. Like all homes, there’s an element of sacred beauty. That feeling is washing away more quickly than all the trash that’s now streaming into our waterways. This city is being desecrated, and trash piles higher daily.

I find grim solace in Sam Henkels’ recent Op-Ed confirming my frustrations. I’m not the only one who’s had to stand in a corner on the light rail because the seats are overflowing with trash. This city has become unrecognizable. But are the two of us shouting into a void?

As a Master’s student in climate justice (with a career in environmental education and pollution reduction), I’m no stranger to the dangers of a dirty environment — nor to the importance of policies that will effect systemic change. But I can’t care on my own. Neither can Henkels. Mayor Bruce Harrell’s promises aren’t a good bet, either — politicians’ promises usually aren’t. Cleaning up our common home is not the job of one mayor, or one investment or just policy. Cleaning up our city is a shared responsibility of everyone who lives in it.

Would you sit idly by if someone were trashing your own living room?

Luke Henkel, Seattle