Litter Hurts

March 27, 2021 by Joshua
in Nature

Spring is here. Flowers are blooming. Buds are forming on branches. People are showing off the spring clothes they’ve waited months to show off. The parks are full.

I’d guess about a third to half the people, depending on time of day, are carrying a plastic bag and other disposable stuff, often food and doof packaging. By noon, all the trash cans are overflowing with packaging. People blithely eat takeout in the park, which sounds lovely, except not one container or utensil is reusable. For a few minutes of pleasure, centuries of landfill waste.

Overflowing trash can

Hoping all the waste will reach a landfill is wishful thinking. The pictures on this post, I’ve used for many posts over the years. The amount of trash they showed for regular days, not after a parade, say, once seemed outliers, even shocking. Now most trash cans I pass look like this every day. People don’t stop putting trash into them after they overflow, hence the trash making it into landfills being wishful thinking. Much of it doesn’t make it in the can so will probably go straight into the ocean.

Beside putting trash near the can instead of in it, people don’t seem to learn the lesson to stop buying disposable stuff. Nearly everyone calls it a sanitation issue, ignoring that we lived without disposable for hundreds of thousands of years. We can spoon out the flooding tub all we want, only turning off the faucet will end the problem.

We need none of this waste. New York City’s population density is high, but when I took the train across the country, even in wilderness hundreds of miles from a modest size town, I saw litter. It’s not just an East Coast or city thing.

NYC trash

How does this much garbage make you feel?

How does this much garbage make you feel? I’ll admit that it makes me feel scared and helpless. It looks ominous because plastic production is increasing. More things come in disposable packaging than ever, some thing didn’t need packaging before.

The images in this post are now normal. I suggest that you not look past it, but instead let it hurt. See if you can feel the pain personally and emotionally about what went wrong to create these scenes, with more to come. You don’t have to feel hurt or helpless. Maybe you don’t want to. I don’t want anyone feeling purposeless pain, but the stuff is there. I’d rather not live in a world overflowing disposable stuff, but as long as we do, I’d rather know than not. I think we’d all benefit from connecting to the problem, even if we don’t like the feeling. Then we can motivate to boycott disposable products if it’s the right path.

Garbage Wounds Me. How Does It Make You Feel?

For my part, this litter wounds me. It hurts like an infection. How can it not?

How can anyone look past it? How can we not stop it?

I suggest that you’ll feel better connecting with the rest of life on Earth if you do feel any pain from it to immerse yourself in it. As Martin Luther King said, “Unearned suffering is redemptive.”

Systemic change begins with personal transformation.

starbucks garbage

Read my weekly newsletter

On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

2 responses on “Litter Hurts

Leave a Reply

Sign up for my weekly newsletter