Saturday, April 21, 2007

Every day is Earth Day

Today I walked to my local library (@ 1.5 miles) to return some videos. Since my backpack was empty I thought I would pick up some of the litter that lines the road. What you see in the photo below is what I gathered on half a mile of road. Had my pack been larger I could have increased my haul two or three times.

Looking at the contents of this garbage I could assume several things about those who litter: they frequent McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts; they smoke (I didn't bother with the butts, just the empty packs); they drink cheap beer (Rolling Rock, Corona, Budweiser, Coors); they play the lottery (two receipts from a numbers game); they drink bottled water, Odwalla juices, and Gatorade.

None of these behaviors make for a bad sort of person. But if they were carried out in different ways, they wouldn't result in a litter-ridden road.
  1. Eat at the restaurant or bring it home. If you don't like trash in your car, have a plastic bag at the ready. Or you could brew your own coffee (huh?) and put it in a travel cup.

  2. Cars come with ashtrays for a reason, and yes, the earth is not your ashtray--butts are not biodegradable. If you want to pollute your lungs, that's your business but keep the mess in the car. If it gets to you, think about what your lungs look like, or see No. 1.

  3. Drink better beer, either at the pub or at home; probably at home because you won't be able to afford gas if you're drinking Guinness or Becks. Keep the cardboard box the six pack comes in, put in the empties , and get back your deposit. At the least, recycle.

  4. Take the money you would have spent on the lottery and put it in a coffee can up on a high shelf. If you put in a dollar a day for 100 days, at the end you'll have $100, which is probably more than you'd have if you'd played the lottery for 100 days.

  5. In southern Connecticut, tap water is just as good as bottled water and it costs less. Fill a sports bottle with cold water, put it in the fridge, and the next morning you're ready to go. Refill at the water fountain at work. If juice is your thing, you can buy the economical half-gallon and pour it into a more portable container.
If we all took time to pick up a piece of trash here and there, this earth would be the beauty it was intended to be. So go out and get your hands dirty tomorrow!

P.S. The garbage photo is also being sent to my town's First Selectman, along with a letter as to why nothing has been planned by the town to pick up on Earth Day. The Jr. High youth group at my church is going to pick up litter after worship, but you shouldn't have to belong to a church to be invited to clean up.


Grandmère Mimi said...

Cynthia, thanks for this. I have, on occasion, carried a plastic grocery bag with me on my daily walk through my neighborhood and picked up litter. Folks around here generally keep up their places. It's the riders in the cars that pass that mess up the place. I'll have to take up the practice again.

You offer good suggestions. I hope a few litterers read this and follow the suggestions.

My worst experience resulting from litter was in the parking lot of a supermarket, when I stepped out of my car right into a poopy disposable diaper. What piggish behavior!

Cynthia said...

Grandmere Mimi,

Eeew!! That's the worst! Ironically, they're called 'disposable' for a reason!