In the past year and a half I’ve read a lot of books and blogs about throwing things away. In most of what I’ve read people say there is no “away”. But in real life I’ve learned that for just as many or even more people believe that “away” is anywhere that they’re not standing at the moment.
The other day I was waiting at he bus stop and since there was some litter surrounding the stop, I decided to pick up some of it and put it in the trash can that was right there at the stop. While doing this, another man at the stop asked me if I worked for the city. He was appalled that I would pick trash up without being paid for it.
“I don’t work for the city. They ain’t paying me nothing.”
“You must have clean hands.”
And he was especially offended when I picked up and threw away the lottery tickets that he had just thrown on the ground.
“You can’t pick up all the trash in the world. You’re fighting a losing battle.”
“Why don’t you go pick up that piece of trash?” (Of some trash on the divider a few lanes of traffic into the street)
This wasn’t part of a conversation. He was listening to his headphones but just occasionally making rude remarks loudly. I would have liked to point out a small hillside covered with wildflowers that was visible from the stop, but he probably wouldn’t have appreciated it anyway.
Some people don’t care about this world we live in.
And since we moved to our new home on a busy road, every day we’ve had to pick up litter from our yard. Yesterday there was a used condom on our sidewalk. It’s discouraging.
A couple of weeks ago, a large group of college students came by to clean up the creek area near our house. It looked beautiful that day, but a couple of days later it rained and the water rushing along the creek replenished the litter level from all the other areas that had not been cleaned.
I took this picture yesterday. Not all the litter is visible in the picture, but you can clearly see the beer can floating in the water and a snack cake box towards the top.
Unlike many, though, I can’t accept living in a world full of trash. These are valuable resources at their absolute worst use like this. I pick up at least some of the litter that I come across every day and recycle what I can, even if to some people this just means more empty ground to throw their litter on. Someone please tell me, what can I do to help us win?