“For generations, littering was more of a taboo than smoking. Then, smoking became regarded as the pariah of all bad habits. Fans of littering must have been relieved that public scrutiny was diverted toward people who light up at open air patios or outside office buildings. There must have been a wonderful feeling of cultural vindication and a new sense of freedom to throw anything they wanted on the ground.”
Whether the anti-smoking campaigns were a catalyst for people to forget how messed up it is to litter or not, it’s integral to remind and inspire each generation to pick up after themselves. Getting outside to hike, camp and hammock is a great way to spend free time and it’s important we work together as a team to preserve the environment.
How you carry yourself in the day to day reflects your character and worldview. Remember the whole actions speak louder than words thing? From baby boomers to millennials, we’re all responsible for our choices and we all share the same earth. If you intentionally litter, you are non-verbally saying:
“I don’t care about the environment.”
“I’m too important to be bothered with this and someone else will do it for me.”
“I’m too lazy to properly dispose of this and I just don’t care.”
I know that may sound harsh, but consciously leaving trash behind is pretty harsh too. It takes a long time for all the waste we produce to break down, some items you may have even considered find and “compostable” can do more damage than good when not disposed of properly.
From the park in your city to the great National Forests, littering is still a nasty problem we have as a group. Some point the finger at the millenial generation. They’re already known for lacking the ability to assume responsibility for their actions, so is littering a symptom of this behavior?
It’s confusing because studies show that millennials talk big talk when it comes to the environment and they’ve been raised in a culture that is hyper sensitive to its condition. But at the end of the day, no matter how old you are, there’s a lot of talk out there. And actually doing something–no matter how simple, is the most effective way to inspire those around you to be clean too.
From volunteering in your community to simply recycling properly, there are plenty of ways we can show the litterbugs the light. Please share some ways that litter has impacted you. Where is the worst place you’ve found litter? What did you do about it?
Pick up trash publicly in your every day life.
This is a powerful action. Even if you’re in a hurry or all dressed up, if someone sees you, you’re going to impact them and inspire them. If no one sees you, give yourself a pat on the back because you’re doing the right thing.
Peacefully hold litterbugs accountable.
Let’s say you see someone throw a cigarette butt out at a gas station. Don’t roll your eyes and do nothing. Don’t verbally accost them from across the parking lot. Pick it up, smile or don’t, just pick it up. If they see you, and you don’t embarrass them – they will have no choice but to feel their own shame.
Support What You Believe in.
How you spend your money is powerful. Support businesses who have a positive and proactive outlook on the environment.