This former governor once ran for president. And he's been a volunteer trash collector for 25 years.

Michael Dukakis is the longest-serving governor in the history of Massachusetts.

Dukakis served as the leader of the commonwealth for 12 nonconsecutive years between 1975 and 1991, barring a brief four-year stint when his own political party kinda screwed him over and stuck another guy in office in his stead. And he willingly commuted on public transportation the entire time (which, as anyone who's ever ridden on the MBTA Green Line can tell you, is truly an admirable feat). He was also the Democratic presidential candidate in 1988, losing out to President George H.W. Bush.


Gov. Michael Dukakis on the presidential campaign road in 1988. Photo by Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images.


He also likes to walk around the city by himself and pick up the trash. Ya know, as former presidential candidates do.

Boston resident Sarah Godfrey recently wrote this letter to The Boston Globe regaling her random run-in with Mike "The Trashman" Dukakis:

OK, so no one actually calls him Mike "The Trashman" Dukakis. But plenty of people have witnessed the Duke waging his one-man war against evil litterbugs:

Presumably, Dukakis was also picking up litter before the invention of the smartphone, too.

While the earliest mention I could find of Dukakis trash-collecting was from 2009, it would stand to reason that he's probably been at it for a lot longer than that. A 2003 Boston Globe article also highlighted the Duke's vigilante brand of eco-justice. Here's a particularly articulate quote from the man himself:

"I mean, look at this crap! It's appalling, disgraceful. There's just no excuse for it. ... It's enough to drive you out of your mind. You see it all over the place and you have to ask: Why isn't anyone dealing with this?"

In the article, Dukakis also alludes to his disappointment in his gubernatorial successor, William Weld. "I left a plan for Weld 13 years ago to do this, and only now are we getting to it," he told the Globe.

But that "13 years" was 12 years ago now, meaning that Dukakis has been fighting this battle for at least a quarter of a century.

By putting the trash in its place, Dukakis also shows us what it means to be a public servant.

Politicians are meant to serve the interests of the public, but you don't often see them bending over to pick up plastic wrappers and discarded papers. In a perfect world, we wouldn't have to remark on the rare wonderment of a wealthy, successful politician doing a daily good deed for the people.

That being said: It shouldn't be left to an 81-year-old man to take out all the trash. So let's all, each and every of us, do like The Duke and bring some spit-shine to our own city streets. In the immortal words of the great Captain Planet, "The power is YOURS!"

And also:


GIF from "Captain Planet." Obvi.

Heroes
LUSH

Handmade cosmetics company Lush is putting its money where its mouth is and taking a bold step for climate change action.

On September 20 in the U.S. and September 27 in Canada, Lush will shut the doors of its 250 shops, e-commerce sites, manufacturing facilities, and headquarters for a day, in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike taking place around the world. Lush is encouraging its 5000+ employees "to join this critical movement and take a stand until global leaders are forced to face the climate crisis and enact change."

Keep Reading Show less
Planet
Photo by Annie Bolin on Unsplash

Recent tragic mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton have sparked a lot of conversation and action on the state level over the issue of gun control. But none may be as encouraging as the most recent one, in which 145 CEOs signed a letter urging the U.S. Senate to take action at their level.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

The fine folks at Forbes are currently falling all over themselves trying to clean up the mess they created by publishing their 2019 list of 100 Most Innovative Leaders.

The problem: The list included 99 men and one woman. For those not so good with the math, that means according to Forbes, only 1% of the country's most innovative leaders are female.

Have you ever watched a movie that's so abysmally bad that you wonder how it ever even got made? Where you think, "Hundreds and hundreds of people had to have been directly involved in the production of this film. Did any of them ever think to say, 'Hey, maybe we should just scrap this idea altogether?"

That's how it feels to see a list like this. So how did Forbes come up with these results?

Keep Reading Show less
Innovation

There's something delicious and addicting about those trendy recipe videos circulating online. You've seen them before: the quick and beautiful play-by-plays of mouthwatering dishes you wish you were eating at this very moment.

The recipes seem so simple and magical and get you thinking, "Maybe I can make that five-cheese bacon lasagna tonight." And before you know it, you're at the store loading up on Colby-Monterey Jack (or is that just me?).

For some families, though, the ingredients and final product look a little different. As part of Hunger Action Month, the hunger-relief organization Feeding America is using our obsession with cooking videos to highlight the reality many food-insecure families face when they sit down for dinner: hunger, and no food in sight.

By putting a twist on the bite-sized food videos all over the internet, they hope to raise awareness that hunger is an unacceptable reality for too many families.

Keep Reading Show less
Family
True
Gates Foundation: The Story of Food