When I was a kid, I remember that famous commercial in which the car drives along the highway and the derelict driver chucks out some garbage from his car’s window. Then the camera pans over and reveals a wise, old Indian man who seems to like to spend his day watching cars drive by. Then the camera pans in closer to show a tear running down his cheek. Well, I am a kind person at heart so I never wanted to make anyone cry, let alone an Indian Chief. I mean, we did put these people through enough before. So for me, littering has always been out of the question. Why litter where I want to play?
Now as an adult, I have to take some long drives to my current place of employment. During these long drives, I have noticed something that is peculiar. In the more “urban” areas with a diverse cultural demographic and a lower-income range, litter seems to be more prevalent. There is even a stark difference between the medians in the county roads. In the lower-income areas, the medians are filled with weeds and brown grass. And litter of course. In the more affluent areas, there seems to be no litter on the side of the road. The medians are green and some have nice rows of trees.
At first I began to glance around to see if there were more Indians policing the dastardly act of littering in the affluent areas. I found a grand total of zero. So there must be something more to this and perhaps littering is a core mindset problem that goes hand in hand with one’s attitude and values that accompanies poverty and valuing your property.
I believe that these days, anti-littering campaigns need to make a comeback. Since the 70’s, we have gone a long way towards bringing back former bodies of water and areas that were once deemed to be an eyesore. Children need to understand how a trashy neighborhood only helps to diminish their property values and how it takes away from us our opportunities to relax, enjoy nature, fish, swim, and even take part in activities such as surfing.
I am sure that we once again need to put a smile on the Indian chief’s face and make the planet more inhabitable for future generations.