Somewhere, tucked in a box down in my basement is a picture of me dressed as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Litter Critter. I was the right height and weight to wear this full sized costume as the mascot for the state’s anti-litter campaign.
Yes … it was hot,
Yes … it was heavy,
and Yes … (regrettably) I did scare a lot of little children in many malls across The Bay State!
But it was worth it … not necessarily because I was paid pretty well … but to help get the message across about not littering and a clean environment. That was back in 1980 – more than 30 years later it’s still there; NO not the “critter” … the litter!
And the anti-litter campaign must continue
When I lived in a “tony-town” called Mountain Lakes, NJ, I used to take long walks with my faithful companion Cody. We had several favorite trails, including one at the end of a dead-end road which lead into a woods. It was beautiful, peaceful (especially after the season’s first snow), and strewn with discarded beer bottles, soda cans, plastic bags and bottles, making it appalling as well. I began leaving the house with empty bags in order to pick up all the garbage I came across. In the beginning I didn’t have enough bags or arm strength! I had neighbors tell me it took a lot of guts to do that. My response was always that I believed it took a lot more courage to litter. Recently I was in Mountain Lakes again and still, the litter continues. Hey folks, the recycle bins are on the other side of the fence … you have to pass them on your way off the courts! DUH!
It just boggles my mind when I see litter, especially plastic bottles, plastic bags, plastic soda can/six pack rings … PLASTIC UGH! The worst offender is the person who casually tosses that piece of plastic binding 6-soda cans together (A brief aside here: WHY are soda companies STILL using these things???)
Without exception, if and when I see a plastic 6-pack ring, I pick it up and take it home. A pair of scissors and 10 seconds later I’ve cut those rings apart and tossed the plastic into my recycle bin.
Here’s what those plastic rings can do to marine life . . .
Plastic 6-pack rings can be deadly to marine life. If not deadly, definitely detrimental.
When they are small, sea turtles which are already endangered, will unknowingly swim through one of the rings. Because their heads are narrower than their carapace or shell, the ring stays put. As the turtle grows, the ring effects how the shell develops. So sad.
But the lessons are out there for our children and grandchildren to absorb and hopefully remember as they make their way in the world.
Disney did it’s part with its movie, Happy Feet. The character, Lovelace, voiced by Robin Williams is the self proclaimed leader of the entire flock of penguins. He maintains he is the Guru because he wears the Sacred Talisman, he says was “… bestowed on him by the Mystic Beings. The Sacred Talisman in actuality, is a plastic six-pack ring that was caught around his neck while he was swimming. He maintains his obnoxious and overbearing behavior until the ring begins to literally choke the life out of him.
Hope this message hit and continues to hit home!
Then there are other marine birds; gulls, osprey, albatross, pelicans … all victims of plastics which find their way into their food chain and again, around their necks preventing them from eating and then they die.
If you haven’t seen a movie titled, Midway: Message from the Gyre go do it. It’s a short film worth worth watching and sharing with your children. It’s heartbreaking; heartbreaking because of how we – as human beings – totally disregard the consequences of out mindless actions — like littering.
C’mon folks this is easy! If you see these six-pack rings,
take 30 seconds out of your day . . .
My little “rant” here is just the tip of the iceberg — or should I say, the tip of the garbage patch. I thought people got the message a long time ago … sadly, I guess I was wrong.