Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day Blue Heron, 2012

Earth Day Blue Heron
I am neither a bird watcher nor a wildlife photographer. For that you need patience and tripods, and always the right light. But I do try and catch a few feathered friends when they present themselves.

Last week, I was pulling out of the Food Lion parking lot in Princess Anne when I saw this blue heron fishing in the holding pond. Normally, I would have passed on this. The light was not right and I had to pull over if I wanted my camera. To add to that, I had no idea what settings were on my camera. These shy birds are swift. You can drive by them all day, but once you stop your car, they are gone.  Still, I gave the scene a second glance.

It was not the bird that drew the second glance; it was the plastic bag, so I slammed on my breaks, grabbed my camera and snapped a 'quick few' to save for Earth Day. Why?

Plastic bags, which make up 80% of the litter on roads and 90% on oceans, are dangerous to wildlife (and marine life), as are those plastic-ring thingies that hold your beer and soda products. The anti-litter campaign began in the fifties. The fifties! So why do we see so much litter on US roads?

Litter is not everywhere. It just seems to be everywhere. If you go to certain cities and towns that take pride in the way they look, you will find that the residents also take pride in their surroundings.  It works like the broken window theory.  If an area is depressed, no one gives a thought to throwing garbage out the car window or leaving a Styrofoam coffee cup in a planter. I have been to some countries where towns take so much pride in the way they look, you couldn't find a cigarette butt on the street if your life depended on it. On the flip side, I have been to some areas in other countries that are nothing more than dumps. But, again, one has to look to the leadership. Good leaders, clean cities, nice storefronts = pride. And people who are proud of their towns and cities are less likely to litter.

I can't explain why, after over fifty years, so much garbage is still being strewn across America. I know the packaging industry has strong lobbyists and the last thing on politician's lists are a clean America (seriously!). And Americans would never consider Finland's refillable bottle law (Finland, BTW, has placed in the top ten chart for cleanest countries in the world several years in a row).

I must admit, we are not the dirtiest country in the world  but when you compare us to other civilized countries we don't rank anywhere near the top ten. Way too many people in this area don't seem to think twice about throwing their garbage out their car windows. I don't mind paper products blowing along the street so much, because they eventually go back into the earth. But plastic? It never leaves us.

On this Earth Day, won't you make a promise to use less plastic and help keep Mother Earth clean and our wildlife safer?  If you think that recycling is the answer, please do a little research. Beware the pro-recyclying sites. Dig deeper. One place to start is this site.

Pass on the message. It got lost somewhere between the fifties and the lobbyists.

Have a clean city? Thank your leaders. And thank you! And always remember to use your carry-bags when shopping, or at least use  paper.

The heron took flight after the first shot.

FYI: Did you know that even the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is being threatened by plastic bags?


Jackie said...

Don't get me started on litter!
We live on a large farm, and the front portion of it borders a highway. I cannot tell you how many people throw things out of their car/truck windows onto the shoulder of the highway. I make it my habit to ride the front perimeter of our land every 3 days and pick up every piece of litter that is thrown out (and that includes cigarette butts.) I get large bags of trash each time I go out to do this. I figure it's the least I can do for our Earth. Man is the one that is sullying it, and man is the one that will need to keep it clean. It starts with one person doing his/her part. Thank you for a great blogpost with beautiful photos and a wonderful message.
P.S. A few months ago, I found a man's wallet complete with his driver's license and credit cards. I flagged down a sheriff's deputy and turned the wallet over to him. I figured that a man had been robbed and whoever took his wallet (and money) took what they wanted and threw the wallet out as trash. I could write a book on things I've found over the years. :))

Patty said...

Thank you, Jackie, for doing your part. I was in a small town in VA on Sunday, and you could tell how much pride they took in their town because there was no trash to be found. I noticed that all the older abandoned homes has been torn down, grass had been cut, older building were being remodeled, and flowers were thriving in clean pots (sans coffee cups and cig butts). You could feel the pride they had in their town. Where I live, the trash just piles up in the ditches. But we have house after house and building after building sitting empty and dying a little every day.

bARE-eYED sUN said...

oh! these are so beautiful, what fun luck! :-)