While searching for balance in this crazy world of ours, one thing is consistent; garbage is everywhere. Whether you believe in climate change or not, you surely must believe that as humans we are turning this planet into a giant trash bag. I find that some days, here in Manhattan, even I have become numb to the sight of trash on the street. Let me first say, New York City is a wonderful place to live, and I am lucky to be living in a beautiful area of it. But as I venture out of my cozy little borough, there is always a darker side. Is it that we as humans have ceased to care about our planet, and how/if she will survive the next million years? Maybe we don’t worry about the next million, but how about the next 10, or 50? So I ask myself, “who are these people?”
You know who I’m talking about; the folks that throw a wrapper on the sidewalk, near the garbage can, the people that leave empty soda cans at the campsite, idiots that throw their cigarette butts out the car window, or those that leave the plastic water bottle on the beach because they can’t be bothered to walk it back to a trash can. If you see any of this, do you pick it up? Or just leave it? I get so irritated when I see trash floating around on the sidewalks, or the hiking trails, or on the beach. Every local beach community almost always has a beach clean up task force, and the national parks have folks, too. But as an individual, what are YOU doing to clean up after others, those selfish jerks that only care about themselves?
Yes, I’ve gone a little crazy about this.
I remember a long time ago, a Public Service commercial with an Indian chief rowing his canoe down what appears could be the Hudson River. You can see the trash floating in the water, and the smoke stacks in the background. And then someone throws trash out their car window, landing at the Indian’s feet. The camera zooms in on the Indian chief who has a single tear running down his cheek. If you’re around my age, I’m sure you remember this commercial, too. It really affected me, as I’m sure it did a lot of people, but I wonder how many people it actually changed. It wasn’t too long ago I was driving behind someone in Oregon, and saw them throw their fast food bag out their window when they stopped at an on-ramp. I was bewildered, and angry, wanting nothing more than to get out of my car and confront them.
Searching for ways to help, I found that there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer for trash clean up events through various organizations around the world. These opportunities happen a couple times a year, but what if we all just cleaned up after ourselves every day? Then it wouldn’t take a small village spending days cleaning up after everyone else. It seems like such an obvious and easy thing to do, so why aren’t we doing it?
I follow a lot of nature and animal conservancy agencies on Twitter and Instagram, and the other day a picture of a sea horse gripping a Q-tip came across my phone. It made me so sad, angry and disgusted. This is just a small example of what we as humans are doing to this planet, and all the animals that reside on her. You don’t see an animal throwing away a bag of garbage, yet they end up having to live with it because we as humans have become so selfish and uncaring. WAKE UP WORLD! We can’t continue to allow this to happen! Do whatever you can to recycle, use less single-use plastic, cut down on carbon emissions, use less energy and reduce your carbon footprint! And if you see trash on the street, trail or beach, pick it up! If we all don’t make an effort, we will be living on a giant garbage heap before we know it. It may not be this generation, but surely the next one to come, and if you have children, you should be worried. What kind of planet are you leaving them? Thats what you should be asking yourself.
I’ve been on my soapbox for this blog long enough. Now go out there and clean up your planet! Mother Nature will thank you!
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Picture courtesy of Justin Hofman, Wildlife Photographer of the Year `Natural History Museum of London’