A few weeks ago I was at the beach with my sister. She saw some trash and picked it up. Once she started, she couldn’t stop. Soon her hands were full of wrappers and other bits. She found a trash can and threw the pieces away.
I realized how trivial her actions seemed. She picked trash up off the beach, only for it to go pollute the earth somewhere else. As a species, we need to start making and creating the opportunity to make better choices so we don’t end up regretting them later.
Trash is disgusting. It hurts the Earth and ruins the landscape. Yet trash is constantly being created. This trash is then picked up by the garbage truck and hauled away. At this point, it is blissfully “out of sight, out of mind.” When you’re at the beach or on a hike, you’re told to pick up after yourself and to leave nothing but footprints. If you go for a walk around your neighborhood, you should pick up litter and put it in the garbage. None of these practices, however, deal with the real issue. It’s great that we want to clean up the trash but what if instead we insisted less trash be made? Wouldn’t that be more to the point?
Picking up litter and putting garbage in the trash seem like great ways to help the environment. In reality, they are only helping the local environment from which they are removed. Then they go on to pollute a different area. Maybe they go into a nice landfill or go for a swim in the ocean. Picking up litter doesn’t help the global environment at all. People think, “As long as the trash is not in my backyard, everything’s OK.”