Use or lose? Is there hope for the future?


Earth day, it comes to pass every year and with it hundreds of organizations and independents go out to clean up the mess of ignorance. I took out my own garbage bag like many years previous to clean up the nearby country road that I and many other citizens of this city district use. My house is located out in the country and there is a road that passes by my property (which about 40 or so cars pass by everyday). I clean this road once a year and so there shouldn’t be a large accumulation of garbage. However, this year I filled a garbage bag in covering less than 250m on only one side of the road.
I wanted to share the information I gathered from this experience because every piece of trash tells a story. So here is goes: The worst offenders for littering were not beer drinkers or coffee drinkers but water bottle users. Almost the whole garbage bag was filled with recyclable water bottles! Not only that but most of the water bottles were full and I had to empty them. So these geniuses ( yes, Im being sarcastic) not only threw out something that could be recycled but they didn’t even use the product they paid for.
The next offenders were people that drink from Tim Hortons. I found coffee cups, timbit packaging etc. Then it was the beer drinkers. From cans to bottles, however I am sure it was less or at least I hope because it is illegal to drink and drive and second you can get money if you take them to a beer store.
What all this information tells me is as a society we are still ‘using and loosing’. Additionally, were not thinking about the consequences of our actions and have the mentality of ‘ it’s not my problem’.
The people that chose to throw out their waste into the Canadian wilderness were not only ignorant but they weren’t thinking and thats the problem. They didn’t think about how long it will take for this garbage to rot away, they didn’t think that someone else will have to clean it up, they didn’t think that they are putting pollutants into the soil and water and they didn’t think that they are vandalizing someone else’s property ( not just mine, but the animals home).
These people should be fined, but the mentality of society needs to change for these people to become aware that what they are doing is harmful.
With cheap labour overseas and not being held accountable for our garbage we are living with blind eyes not seeing the damage we are doing. Whoa, your probably wondering, how did this turn from someone littering in a persons backyard to an international problem. Well, let me explain. What we don’t realize is how we operate on a micro level is how we operate on a global level. The people that threw their garbage ( some people did dump full plastic bags of garbage) on country roads or in the forest have the same mentality as our politicians on the macro level. The people that are dismissing the protection of our lakes our national forests for a profit. For example, the Canadian prime Minster Steven Harper signed an agreement making over 100,000 lakes that were previously protected to be put up for sale. It is the same mentality that is killing the environment were Mother Earth is being raped by the tar sands. It is our consumer society that is causing us to ruin our country because of greed. We cannot avoid these environmental problems because what is in someone else’s yard today, will be in ours tomorrow.
The people that threw their trash in the forest probably had no problem complaining about the hardest winter in over 40 years that just passed, but what they don’t recognize is that they are the cause of the problem.I doubt these kind of people think about using less hot water, making sure the lights are off, using re-usable bottles/ mugs instead of disposable ones. All of these products cost energy and if we have to make more we burn more pollutants. If this comes across as negative, I’m sorry but this is realistic and it needs to be addressed in a ‘no bullshit’ kinda way. However, we can change what we are doing but first we have to look at the dark to see why we need the light so much. So here it goes!
The human race is committing suicide, we are consuming at a faster rate than nature can create. At this moment in history the human race is acting like cancer and it saddens me. We have so much intelligence, we have so much potential and yet we put our energy in the wrong places. We shouldn’t be fighting wars amongst each other or trying to get more and more material things. The answers is right there in the woods, in the stillness and the peace. We need to get back to ourselves and stop feeding this virus of consumption. We feel empty because we keep looking on the outside to fill us when just like a well we need to fill from the inside first. Nature is our home and we are homesick yet we don’t know the cause of our illness. We need to reconnect with Mother Earth, ground ourselves and get back to what it is to be human. We need to wake up and see the problems the Earth is facing and stop talking about it but actually go and do something. Cleaning up is one thing, but it is in the prevention that is key. We need to prevent this trash from even getting in our forests, our oceans. We need to choose products that we can re-use, this will automatically helps so much. Everything that is disposable has that ” use and loose” mentality and that is what we need to change. In the old days, people made everything and they valued it. They would have one pair of shoes and if they broke they would take them to get repaired. Our society doesn’t do that anymore. I tried to find a place to fix a pair of boots I had and I was basically laughed at ” why would you want to fix them when you can get another pair?”
Cheap labour has caused us to get more for our dollar but it has costed us quality and it is costing us our environment. Our dumps are filling up, there is an island size plastic heap floating in the Pacific Ocean and a new one was discovered by the Indian Ocean (when they were looking for the Malaysian plane that went missing). Can you imagine what it feels like for those fish and sea creatures that have to swim and live in that?!When I was in the Bahamas I couldn’t believe that amount of garbage that would come ashore. Not only that but oil sludge. I would have oil sludge on my feet from walking on the beach that I couldn’t wash off. That was scary, and it was a huge wake up call for me.
So next time you go shopping think about the lifetime of a product. How long you can use it vs how long it will take to dissolve in a garbage dump (hopefully it ends up there)? Think about quality vs quantity, because it will last longer than cheaper products. Buy local, it took less energy to get to you and it is fuelling your economy and not a distant countries. And if you see someone littering don’t let them get away with it. Address them politely ” I don’t know if you meant to drop this but I believe this belongs to you.” That should help them get the message, and if someone is dropping off major amounts of garbage like tires or bags than take their license plate number and file a report. (If they don’t want it than why would the animals? )

Mother Nature doesn’t have a maid service, we have to clean up after ourselves. So it’s up to us people. If your aware of these issues then it’s your duty as a human being to spread knowledge and take the decisions that will help our planet rather than be its demise. We are responsible for the future for we are creating it right now and we can’t blame our governments because if we tell them what we want they have to listen or we get a new government. The change won’t start with corporations because let’s face it they are interested in money. The change will start with everyone of us, the 99 percent. We have to show this is important to us, our health, our homes, our environment because we are all interconnected. If we all make changes in whatever way we can it will impact the greater whole, that’s how this environmental catastrophe started and it’s how we will get rid of it, one piece of trash at a time, one light switch at a time, one person at a time. I’m doing it, will you join me?

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