I just don't get it. We live in a very idyllic location. Back before I had two small boys, we used to come to this house every summer for a week long vacation (the house belonged to my husband's grandmother). One of my favorite things to do while here was to sit out on the back porch with a cup of tea and my Bible, a good book, or my journal. There are trees with birds flitting from branch to branch. A babbling brook runs behind the house. I couldn't ask for a more beautiful slice of nature right out my back window.
So, what don't I get? People who live in this area and litter! You can't possibly convince me that these people, who drive by our property and hurl every imaginable type of trash and filth out their car window, all live far away and are just passing through.
When I went to Wikipedia in attempts to find a free graphic to include with this post, I noticed a section discussing why people litter. Wikipedia cited that Francis McAndrew's Environmental Psychology textbook "reports that women, youth, rural dwellers, and live-alone persons litter more than men, seniors, urban dwellers and multi-person households." Wikipedia also cited 1999 research by Keep America Beautiful which "found that 75% of Americans admitted to littering in the last 5 years." I never did find a free graphic. Too bad I can't find an old photo I know I took while visiting England. It was of a sign there which read: "Five pound fine for fouling the footpath!" I just loved the alliteration.
O.K., I still don't get it, no matter where people live, why do they litter on nice country properties?? When I drive to the grocery store or to take my MS to Parent's Day Out, I always see trash on the side of the road. My husband routinely heads out of the house on a weekend with a large plastic trash bag to pick up the refuse that others have callously pitched out their window. It takes him a long time. It is a huge job.
When I was working with a service corps in the Philippines during the summer of 1987, I used to marvel at the number of people who would throw trash out of a jeepney as we rode. (Speaking of jeepneys, I read the other day about the large python found on one of those, which sent riders scrambling - now that would have been something to write home about!) We even watched very well-to-do Filipinos littering. I do remember commenting on how every Filipino male seemed to view "all of God's green earth" as a urinal.
Am I showing my ethnocentrism? I thought that Americans would surely be more cultured and refined than that. Boy, was I wrong. It would be interesting to keep a log of the types of things we find thrown onto the property here. This past weekend, the unsettling items were drug paraphernalia and gang type grafitti under the bridge. Hello. We moved from a town 40 miles from Chicago to the isolated farming community in Indiana to find this under our bridge???
This is truly a boys' paradise with woods to roam and deer to site (two ran right past my hubby and son last night when they were out shooting hoops). Now, I find myself worrying when I allow my almost-12-year-old to go out exploring. Granted, I am hoping this is an isolated find. Most of the time it is beer bottles, empty food bags, aluminum cans, fishing gear, tobacco tins and the like.
I still don't get it, though. What possesses people to abuse the beautiful land that God has chosen to bless us with by littering it with random trash? I guess I just can't understand why someone would choose to forfeit something lovely and idyllic and proliferate filth instead!
It makes me think of an old camp song we used to sing in a round. One of the lines was:
"Don't put your trash in my trash can, my trash can, my trash can,
Don't put your trash in my trash can, my trash can's full."
So now, I sing:
Don't put your trash on my side of the road, my side of the road, my side of the road,
Don't put your trash on my side of the road, my side of the road's full!