I don’t consider myself to be a tree-hugger in the true sense of the word. I say that because I believe that saving the child rather than the gorilla was the right thing to do. A true tree-hugger probably saw that differently. On the other hand (yes, there are 4 fingers and a thumb), I am a little tree-huggerish when it comes to nature. I believe that nature should be kept natural. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that my nature is not natural, and I don’t like it.
I can remember a time when it was acceptable to throw trash out the window of a moving car. It’s not a funny memory but in reality, it was a common occurrence. If you finished your Winky’s burger and fries and a garbage can wasn’t close by, the trash was tossed out the side window and you watched it float around out the back window. Sure, you can punish me for past wrongdoings but once I, along with a few million other Americans, met the ‘Crying Indian,’ things started to change. Littering became taboo and after a while, nature got back to being natural. That was in the ‘70s, but something has changed.
Every day on my walk, I see litter. I don’t mind bending over to pick up paper in the form of a $20 bill dropped by a tipsy parent after a night at the local bar, but collecting all the cigarette butts, paper, plastic bags, construction debris, and cans would require me to pull along a cart-just like the one used by the janitor at my elementary school. I would need to load my cart each morning with a supply of water, a box of garbage bags, a trash picker-upper, and a HAZMAT suit; because some of today’s litter, like the light blue latex glove that I saw today, might be toxic. Wouldn’t it be easier to just throw trash in the trash rather than make me walk an hour in hot, humid weather while pulling a fully stocked janitor’s cart uphill both ways in order to keep nature, natural? And what am I do to when I get one-upped?
It seems my generation was one of the last to feel the power of that 1970 Keep America Beautiful commercial where one little tear streamed down the face of ‘Crying Indian’ while William Conrad said, “People start pollution, people can stop it.” Perhaps we all need a little reminder to put trash where it belongs. And if you see me power walking alongside the road while pulling a cart, it’s not a resistance exercise. This partial tree-hugger is just trying to put natural back into nature.