There are two kinds of people in this world: those that toss litter out into the environment and those that don’t. Why is this? Ever since I was a small child I thought that littering was despicable. I think I was born with the anti-litter gene. I can remember when littering became “illegal” and they put up signs along the highways: “$300 Fine for Littering”. Why do we need to remind people to not throw their garbage out the window? Good grief!
When I was in college I had a class called Fundamentals of Motion Picture Production. Everyone had to make three movies for the class. One of my movies was called “An Outdoor Wisconsin Trip”. My best friend at the time was the “star” of my movie and I filmed him outside enjoying the woods, scenery, and wildlife. Every few scenes, I would show him walking at the same location, but each time with more trash on the trail. Finally, he tripped on all the garbage. Get it? An Outdoor Wisconsin Trip? My other two movies were about ice fishing and steelhead fishing, but I’ll save those for another time.
There is a small piece of woods next to my home in Faribault where I enjoy feeding the birds and watching other critters. When the snow melted this spring I noticed that my little woods was literally littered with litter, which greatly reduced my bird-watching pleasure. It had obviously accumulated there for years. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I got tired of looking at all of the garbage and I went out and filled a huge industrial-sized garbage bag.
Everywhere I have lived and worked I have always picked up trash while out appreciating nature, especially in my favorite places. Eventually, my outdoor experience improves as I would find less and less garbage. On a similar note, maybe that is why the amount of trash collected at our annual cleanup has been gradually decreasing. Wouldn’t that be something!
Anyway, back to my opening line. Do people litter because they believe there are do-gooders out there who will cherish the opportunity to pick it up some day? No, I don’t think that is so. I believe that for some reason or other some people didn’t acquire the appreciation for the outdoors and the gift that it is. Tossing garbage tarnishes that gift for many of us. So, thank you to everyone who helps with our annual watershed cleanup. We are making a difference. Earth Day is coming up, so look at ideas in this newsletter and check with your local community and get out and make a difference. Let’s all try to leave the world, or any small place, better than it was before we were there.