The other day I yelled at a young girl from my upstairs bedroom window. She had thrown a large plastic cup on the boulevard across the road. “Pick it up!” I hollered. I was raising the blind when I saw her stop her bicycle on the sidewalk, chug back her drink, and then fling the cup. What pushed my crazy button was that first she looked around, checking to see if anyone could see her. When she thought no one was witness to her crime, she went ahead and littered. She knew what she was doing was wrong. Imagine her surprise when this disembodied voice of doom came thundering out of the sky.
Her helmeted head swivelled around and she promptly picked up her trash, then hurriedly pedalled away. I’m guessing she was nine or ten years old. I felt a teensy-weensy bit bad about scaring the bejesus out of her. She’s probably a sweet kid. But how has she missed all the anti-litter campaigns in this day and age? And where did she learn that it’s OK to get rid of your garbage anywhere you want, as long as no one is watching?
Maybe her parents are the kind of folks who throw coffee cups out their vehicle’s window. Or they walk to the same nearby convenience story she likely went to and leave their candy bar wrappers and empty chip bags and cigarette packages on any old property they’re passing by.
They might also be the ones who go fishing, camping, boating—whatever—at one of our many pristine lakes in northern Ontario and leave plastic pop bottles and beer cans on the forest floor or—and this totally drives me around the bend and upside down—place them tidily in a fire pit. They don’t burn them. So why do they think the next person would be stupid enough to try and release noxious fumes? Oh, wait, they just want someone else to take them home because they’re too lazy and ignorant to do it themselves.
So, yeah, I’m thinking that little girl has bad role models in her life. Apparently, there are tons of adults out there who don’t appreciate the environment and they are passing on their disrespect to the next generation. She simply mirrored what she has seen grownups do.
Be on the alert clandestine litterers: I could very will be gazing out my second-storey window one day and catch you in the despicable act of flinging your trash. I might even have my cell phone at the ready to share your dastardly deed on social media. So why not set an example for all those kids out their who will one day inherit the earth and put your trash in a garbage can? Or, if you truly think litter is beauty to behold, throw it on your own front lawn.