There is nothing more frustrating than litter bugs and it seems that I find myself picking up more, and more, of their trash as time goes on. Whether I’m camping, fishing, hunting, it’s always there…. why? Hello friends, I’m Spencer, and today we are ranting about…… GARBAGE!
So this rant is because of our next picture, I have many many more but instead of flooding you with images of litter lets just talk about one. This bag of unseparated garbage, and plastic cup, was left by a group of campers for someone else to clean. A lot of campgrounds charge a fee for this, because this isn’t the purpose of a ranger and nobody wants to start a nice relaxing weekend by cleaning up after someone else. We are entrusted to watch these habitats and protect nature while we travel here, not destroy it. Kimberly and I both think the state of Massachusetts has the right idea, when dealing with litterbugs, with their astronomically huge fines. These fines includes people who litter, or have a trash disposal violation, where the first offense lands up to a $5,500.00 fine then up to a $15,000.00 fine for each additional offense. With fines that hefty it’s kind of hard to go camping, but honestly I really would hate to see it come to that.
Anyway what if the park rangers didn’t come by here after they left? A raccoon would get into it, maybe a bear, and first thing they would do is shred the garbage all over the ground to scavenge for food. In the process they sometimes inject toxins, maybe choke, get something stuck around their leg or neck cutting off circulation. Best case scenario they start to rely on human food then visit human locations more frequently, which in turn is dangerous for humans and the animal both. The most frustrating part about this picture is that these people had to drive within 5 feet from a dumpster in order to leave the campground.
But let’s not stop there because this isn’t just about campgrounds. My children and I have gone ice fishing and come back with a bag full of garbage, and recyclables, that didn’t belong to us. We picked it up on the way back because we didn’t want it to fall in the lake when the ice melted in the spring….. because ice tends to do that when it is exposed to heat.
I’ve even gone fishing, in a boat, and pulled big empty contractor bags from the bottom of the lake, what was in them we will never know. To those who still think this behavior is ok look at it from a personal standpoint. You don’t want to touch my garbage, believe me, and I certainly do not want to touch your garbage. I’m not your mother, and it’s not someone else’s problem, it’s yours, it is your garbage. It is not that difficult, or time consuming, to place garbage in a garbage can, or to carry the bag to the campground dumpster. Kimberly and I often share ideas, on this blog, when it comes to reusable containers, utensils, cookware, and food storage. With 5 children camping with us, for three days, we bring less than half of a small kitchen bag of trash to the campground dumpster… recyclables are a different story, that’s well over half a bag but they all go to the recycle station or back home with us.
I would also just like to point out, for those of you who are still reading, that certain trash doesn’t just go away. Think about it, you leave plastic on the ground, the sun breaks it down, rain causes it to leach into our soil, lakes and streams, it’s poison. If you burn that plastic the particles travel to the atmosphere, mixes with moisture, comes down in the form of acid rain, destroys structures, poisons the waters. Why do you think you’re only supposed to eat a certain amount of fresh water fish a month? Right, because of garbage caused by litter bugs. Plants, and animals, live in these environments, they pick up contaminants, and through the circle of life those contaminants are passed on to each living thing. Not to mention it’s really terrible to look at, especially when you are traveling to a secluded location to look at the splendors of nature.
I just realized that I keep saying "not to mention" then go ahead and mention what I am going to say anyway... and now you can never unsee it.
In short, if you can’t pick up your trash please stay home. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say I speak for everyone who loves nature, camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, kayaking, etc… If you are too lazy to clean up after yourself, and at least try to maintain a world where our children can experience the same splendors as you, please… stay home.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on the matter and I would love to hear yours in the comments below. I would like to say that Kimberly, and I, are nowhere near erasing our carbon footprint so I don’t want you to think I am being hypocritical. But, we do what we can, while living a reasonable existence on this planet, and we don’t think its too much to ask to just place your trash where it belongs, and recycle whenever possible. So, with that friends, as always, dance to the the beat of your own drum, live every day like it’s your last, and happy camping!