Give a Hoot

Ian helped clean up last month, after the CCFA walk. He walked through the park, scouring the ground for wrappers and paper and popsicle sticks. He helped because we asked, but he often picks up trash while we’re walking and playing in parks. Sometimes he’s being considerate; often he just likes picking things off the ground.

By contrast, on the way home from work today I saw a young woman toss a soda can to the curb as she walked to work. There was a Big Gulp waiting for me in the front yard when I arrived home. Last week, a couple exited a McDonald’s parking lot and pulled in front of me, flattened ketchup packages flying from the passenger window. Yesterday two young men started playing catch with a discarded Gatorade bottle they found in the park, and left it lying in the grass when they’d finished.

Are these people kidding me? Woodsy’s, what, thirty-seven years old? Nearly forty years wearing that feathered cap, and people still think it’s acceptable to litter. I thought littering was one of those dimwit phases we all go through, like 4:20 references or Adam Sandler movies. Something we’ve all done despite knowing better, and no one does anything to stop us except roll their eyes because we’re not worth the effort.

Sure, a cartoon owl isn’t all that inspiring, but do you really need to be told not to litter? It’s about good stewardship, sure. But the further you get from the age of five, the less it’s about the environment and the more it’s about you simply being stupid.

My four-year-old son, who can spell his name and little else, knows enough to throw his trash away. He enjoys helping me take the garbage out, and emptying the recycling bin. He may litter the house with half-finished drawings and bits of paper, but we’re the only ones who have to live with it, and only until we tell him to pick it up.

Give a hoot, stop acting like a moron and put your trash in a can, cupholder, or even your pocket. Take your pick. I don’t care. I’m trying to keep this place clean for my son.

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