Got your attention with that title, didn’t we? One might think this is about alcohol consumption but well…keep reading. It’s about the dirty habits that people seem to have bestowed upon our National Parks and other sites.
For you elder readers, do you remember the television commercial that showed the Native American standing alongside the highway while a passenger of a car zooms by throwing trash out the window that lands on his feet?
The camera zoomed in on a tear rolling down his cheek and sadness in his eyes. It was also shown as a billboard across the Nation. It originally aired in the early 70’s.
I think we need to start showing that commercial again because people seemingly, haven’t gotten the memo that this big blue marble we live on isn’t just ours.
But what doesn’t happen ‘accidentally’ are the empty smashed water bottles and cans, broken glass bottles, bottle caps, pop tops and dirty diapers that are purposely thrown or placed there.
We’ve seen picnic tables with trash left on, beside or under them; chip bags folded and wedged into trees, cigarette butts still smoldering on the side of the trails or roadway, etc. We could go on but I’m sure you get the picture (like the one’s shown in this article).
How can we help?
Opt for Online: Yes, paper maps are a national parks staple. But in our world of modern technology and ubiquitous smartphones, op for an app, that provides the same information – they’re out there. And even without cell service, some national park apps will give helpful information about where you can spot wildlife or catch a beautiful sunset.
Mug for the Parks: Bring a reusable coffee mug from home or buy one from the souvenir shop to help reduce the 58 billion dirty paper cups are sent to America’s landfills every year.
BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle): Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. Keep a refillable water bottle on hand or buy one at gift shop, while taking advantage of refilling stations around the park. Oh and water is free at the water fountains anyways!
Ditch the Plastic Bag: Help reduce waste by not taking a plastic bag when buying souvenirs or groceries that you bring into the parks. Instead, bring your own reusable bag or tote for your items to help eliminate plastic bag waste. Plastic is not easily biodegradable.
Take Out What You Bring In: Think about what you bring in. Check to see if it can be recycled or composted in the park you are visiting. If it cannot be recycled, take it home or find a recycling receptacle.
The point of our blog article is awareness. We all need to step up to the plate and clean up our act. We were given one planet. There are no second helpings. Let’s be good stewards and examples to our children and our children’s children.
If you’re going to leave anything, leave only these.
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