In a state acclaimed for its outdoor recreational opportunities, where the license plate reads “Life Elevated,” and showcases outdoor natural park treasures, it was almost surprising to see a front page article in The Herald Journal on July 7 about the proliferation of trash at First Dam and other parks in Logan, Utah. I say ALMOST because I spend a lot of time outdoors. I fish and I run, among other things; and no matter where I go I’m always dismayed by the trash I see left behind by others. I find it on the river banks. I see it along the side of the road. I find it under the park bench.
The trash is as wide-ranging as anything you can possibly buy at the local market. On the Blacksmith Fork river bank and along every road in the valley, I’ve found plastic shopping bags, empty cardboard boxes that had held a fisherman’s new pair of waders (Really?!?), beer cans, life jackets, cups from McDonalds, plastic drink bottles, a leather loveseat, lone shoes, and empty shot gun shell casings.Why?
Do so many people think it really doesn’t matter?Do people really believe the “biodegradable” labels? Really? In whose lifetime will all this trash biodegrade to minute particles? Not in mine. Not in our grandchildren’s. That I can guarantee.
Fifty years from now, the junk thrown out the window or left to blow away in the wind will still be here—scarring what little natural landscape we have left.What’s to be done? Who will pick it up? Will you?
What will you think if you see me walking with a trash bag along the road? Will you think I’m a crazy homeless person? Someone who has gone off their meds? Will you notice me picking up litter? Will you consider stopping to lend a hand? Or shake your head at the thought of someone who has too much free time on their hands? Or will I remind you of your mother—the one who might have picked up after you?Well, last time I checked, your mother doesn’t live out here.
Perhaps it is time to renew a commitment to taking care of our planet. At the very least, please take your trash with you when you head back inside. Dont' count on the tree in the photo below to do it for you. (Contrary to what the Olympic ad might lead you to believe, he really doesn't move around with opposable thumbs.)
This post first appeared on povblog.net. Big waves and wiggles for having me as a guest!