Some weeks I have trouble putting my finger on an opinion I feel like sharing. Other weeks I’m brimming with opinions and have trouble deciding which one to explore and share.
This week, I am having neither problem. Sure, there are ongoing political debacles well worth commenting on, but this week, my focus is a little more local.
Last week was the first of “Pitch-In” in Fort St. James.
The annual campaign is aimed at getting the community out picking up the garbage on the sidewalks and in the ditches.
After a long winter, it is not surprising the receding snow begins to show signs of what has slowly been building up through the season and conveniently covered by snowfalls – a whole lot of trash.
I do not remember the garbage out and about on the streets being as bad last year, but a year will often fade such memories into the soft light of nostalgia.
This year I am noticing how awful some spots in particular are.
Nahounli Creek, before the ice had completely melted, was covered in trash, from bottles, bags and cans all the way up to a shopping cart.
By the time this story is printed, the ice will surely be melted and all of that awful mess will likely be dumped right into beautiful Stuart Lake, what doesn’t sink may end up heading down the river. I guess that’s one way to take out the trash.
The pergola (the open wooden structure erected in between King’s and the old Fort Hotel last year) is literally awash with garbage as well. Some may have blown out of the nearby dumpsters, sitting with lids partially open, but there are even plastic shopping bags hanging from the trees full of other garbage. Much of this will likely then blow down onto Stuart Lake as well.
The majority of the trash I saw was some type of single-use packaging; water bottles, plastic bags, paper cups, plastic lids, beverage cans – the list goes on and on.
This is an ugly side to our world of convenience laid out before us.
Not one of these packages is necessary. A reusable water bottle, cloth grocery bags, and travel mugs would cut down on the majority of it, recycling what containers you have to buy would get rid of much of the rest.
I find it very hard to understand how in a community where so many people clearly value the lake and many are trying hard to protect it from what they see as potential threats such as pipeline development, people can’t bother to put their garbage in the trash and instead let it drift into the lake.
Last week the film The Clean Bin Project about a Vancouver couple’s film project to challenge each other to produce as little garbage as possible, presented by Greening Up Fort St. James, showed some visuals of how much garbage our society is producing.
It is shocking to the point of sickening.
Single-use items are one of the bigger problems when it comes to solid waste, and it would be really nice to see a reduction of this frivolous use of resources.
The simple act of bringing a container with you for beverages alone could save an incredible amount of plastic from the landfill.
One million plastic cups are produced every six hours in airline flights just in the United States. Imagine if people just brought a cup. In just six hours, what a different we could make.
While the number itself may seem meaningless, look up Chris Jordan’s digital photo art work to see a visual depiction of just what kind of world we are creating.
No one is perfect, and no one will remember all the time, but we can all at least try.
So “pitch in” this month and help keep the community beautiful, and take your cup to the cafe and your cloth bags to the store.
Lecture done. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.