As bike riders, we have seen pollution first hand, up close and personal. If you ride in the city it’s in the gutters of the bike lanes, in the parks (despite the many garbage cans) you see bottles and trash all over the ground. I always ask myself, “What’s wrong with people?” But there is no answer.
Riding in the country is no picnic either. Dumping is done anywhere and everywhere. There can’t be trash cans placed all over the earth and it’s really not that hard to carry your trash back home. Then why can’t people do it?
There are recycling centers and places to dump any kind of garbage you can produce and yet people just don’t have the time or inclination to do it. I’ve seen every type of person out there chuck garbage. Parents littering with their children are teaching another generation not to respect our planet. I hate to say this but people are just that selfish.
We are creatures that want fulfillment instantly. If we don’t feel it’s going to benefit us immediately we’re probably not going to do it. We are a short-sighted race with limited intelligence for all of our so-called smarts. I notice many people can look at a nature area covered in litter and not even see it. That kind of thing chills me to the bone.
To me, there’s nothing worse then riding the beautiful Bay Trail and seeing the trash and dumping that’s still going on. There are trash cans all along the trail and sometimes there’s trash on the ground right by the can taking laziness to new heights.
Looking towards San Francisco during low tide you can pick out all kinds of trash in the mud including a whole bicycle that’s been out there since I’ve been riding. Tires are numerous and I’ve seen shopping carts. I’m not surprised by anything anymore.
I try not to include the trash in my daily photos of the Bay Area but the birds pick at cigarette butts, the fish are swimming in god knows what and it makes me sick. One part of the trail has a large tidal pond where I take pictures of white herons, ducks and other large waterbirds feeding when the tide is low and there are tied bags of trash floating amongst them. San Mateo residents should be ashamed.
There’s not much that can be done about controlling other people’s littering. Shaming doesn’t work and education is falling short of making a difference. I’m usually a positive person seeking answers but each year when Earth Day comes around I find myself a little sadder. Talking about it once a year is not enough when it’s a daily problem.
Make A Difference-Don’t Add To The Problem
We can make a difference by making sure we don’t add to the problem. I will even pick up other people’s trash if I find a plastic bottle or yogurt container at my favorite bench and have a place to carry it. There’s always a trash can ahead or at home. In our own lives, we must be proactive and pick up our messes. By doing so we are helping the planet by being responsible and it adds up.
When we control our own trash it never turns into a problem for someone else to handle. We can be proud that we are doing the right thing keeping the earth clean and our trash away from wildlife. They don’t know any better but we do!
If You Have To Smoke-Take Your Butts With You
Both of my parents smoked around me growing up, I was lucky enough to be turned off by it and never start. I know people who religiously pick up their litter but never think about what they do with their spent cigarettes. They don’t disintegrate or go away and the filters last forever. I see them everywhere on the bike trails it’s a disgusting habit. Hurt your own health but don’t ruin my view! Please don’t empty ashtrays on the ground near your vehicle either take it back home.
I’m a poet and can’t let Earth Day go by without writing about it. Hope you like it.
Believe in a better tomorrow
believe that the air is pristine
believe that there’s nothing endangered
the future remains to be seen.
Believe in a world that is caring
believe that the oceans are clean
believe companies are recycling
the future remains to be seen.
Believe in a healthier planet
believe if together we lean
believe we can all do what’s needed
the future deserves to be green.
© Rebecca Sanchez 2016
Artwork: Earth Day by Dana Gray
Have a great Earth Day! When you ride your bike pick up your litter!
Earth Day is every day-your actions make the difference!