Part 2 of 4: Laws won’t change human behavior, but they will ensure that containers get picked up, Great Pacific Garbage Patch
When I address the nitty-gritty of what’s happening to America, many appreciate it and a few cannot stand my sobering observations.
Nonetheless, we Americans love to credit ourselves with being the most extraordinary country on Earth. We like to think we enjoy a special privilege of exceptionalism heretofore unknown on this planet.
However, some of the biggest slobs on the planet eat at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, Burger King and Taco Bell. Add another dozen fast food joints to round out the slob factor.
Once they dash out of the parking lot with their load of junk food—they toss paper, plastic cups, glass bottles, aluminum cans and cardboard containers anywhere they please. They hurl their garbage into lakes, streams, sidewalks and along every roadway in America. In cities, they leave their rubbish on curbs, parking lots, bus stops and storm drains. They stand in it at bus stops and walk through it—without even thinking of picking it up.
Some of our largest corporations throw their chemical trash all over America and around the world. Dow Chemical and Kimberly Clark used to discard their dioxins and endless chemicals into rivers as well as the Great Lakes. Not until Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council as well as other environmental groups caught them and took them to court—did they become “responsible” companies. Profits drove their greed rather than moral responsibility. While we banned DDT in America because it killed everything in sight, Chevron still produces it and sells it to third world countries that don’t know any better—to spray it all over the landscape and into their bodies of water. Talk about a lack of moral integrity!
In the states, millions of beer and liquor drinkers toss their bottles at rest stops and exits on freeways. You cannot imagine the number of beer and whiskey bottles I pick up on Exit 254 on I-70 west of Denver weekly. A lot of drunks drink and drive no matter what the consequences. That’s why 17,000 Americans lose their lives to drunk drivers annually.
While we may enjoy exceptional freedoms guaranteed by our first-of-its-kind Constitution, our behavior provides a different story when it comes to personal accountability, personal responsibility and community accountability.
Speaking of exceptional countries, I dare any American to compare our country with the pristine roads and landscapes of Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany and Switzerland. Those cultures actually care enough to never throw trash and everyone picks up after those idiots that do toss their trash. In other words, they care about their environment.
In America, it’s obvious that we could care less. Why would such a large percentage of Americans not care?
Why? I suggest the illiteracy and culture factor. The more illiterate and uneducated Americans become in numbers, the more trash results. With 42 million Americans that can’t read, write or perform simple math, we see a huge population that lives without intellectual responsibility. If you visit any inner city, the residents would rather walk and live in trash than pick it up.
Around the planet, many cultures toss everything in sight. The Greeks trash their country with junk rolling down the sides of river valleys and ravines. They toss trash everywhere and anywhere without thought. Same holds true with many if not most countries in Africa. Same with several countries in South America. Guess what? We import millions from all those countries. It’s nearly impossible to retrain and reeducate them to be responsible citizens. Europeans in this country have trashed this continent without regard for the past 236 years.
Debi from Oklahoma said, “I think the guy that you asked “why don’t you form a committee to get rid of all the junk lining the road coming into town” sums it up. Nobody cares. This is America now. Even the college educated people I work with do not care about current events. They are in an entertainment induced coma. It is like living around robots. They all do the same thing. It is really bizarre. I have to say I was one of them a while back.”
Reader Ming wrote, “You have waded into the statist watermelon realm of thought; laws do not and cannot change peoples’ behaviors.”
I agree, but a 10 cent deposit return laws get containers picked up by those who crave the money.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Do we not have a moral and ethical imperative to police our trash? Why would any responsible civilization want to add to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? That garbage patch, filled with plastics and chemical debris encompasses an area twice the size of Texas out in the Pacific Ocean. It also grows in every ocean and sea around the world as the human race continues to toss its plastics. It weighs in excess of 20 million tons. It kills marine creatures by the millions. It’s caused by endless tossing of plastics and trash into our rivers and oceans.
“The garbage patches present numerous hazards to marine life, fishing and tourism. But before we discuss those, it's important to look at the role of plastic. Plastic constitutes 90 percent of all trash floating in the world's oceans [source: LA Times
]. The United Nations Environment Program estimated in 2006 that every square mile of ocean hosts 46,000 pieces of floating plastic [source: UN Environment Program
]. In some areas, the amount of plastic outweighs the amount of plankton by a ratio of six to one. Of the more than 200 billion pounds of plastic humans produce each year, about 10 percent ends up in the ocean [source: Greenpeace
]. Seventy percent of that eventually sinks, damaging life on the ocean floor [source: Greenpeace
]. The rest floats; much of it ends up in gyres and the massive garbage patches that form there, with some plastic eventually washing up on a distant shore.”
In a word, humans created Great Pacific Garbage Patch: sickening!
Future generations will pay for this plastic invasion with contaminated foods, contaminated fish, endless die-off of marine life and horrific damage to our global ecological systems.
Part 3: America’s part in global trashing, chemicals and species extinction
Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents - from the Arctic to the South Pole - as well as eight times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. In 2012, he bicycled coast to coast across America. His latest book is: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, copies at 1 888 280 7715/ Motivational program: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, click: