Why I Am So Passionate About Litter

To be quite honest, I have never been an environmentally conscious person. Even after all these years out in the woods it just never occurred to me that littering was such a big problem. I have now come to believe that people who are labeled as environmentalists get a bad rap as extremists.  We should all care about our environment and our world and about each other.

My company is very concerned about the environment and encouraged us to participate in an Earth Day event this year.  Not being able to find anything suitable for my group in South Carolina, I decided to organize a garbage walk in downtown Greenville, South Carolina.

Those of you who have either visited our lovely city or who live here know how clean its downtown can be but even with all the loving care the city gives it we still managed to find garbage to pick up.  This event turned out to be about more than picking up the garbage. We had become ambassadors for Earth Day as we greeted the passersby who thanked us for picking up the garbage.

On a later walk near where I live, I started to really look at the litter on South Carolina roads. Fast food wrappers, bottles, paper of all kinds, cigarette butts everywhere.  Now I can’t even drive between Spartanburg on I-85 and Greenville without being outraged over the mess thrown out the car windows by people driving down the road.  It makes me angry to see my adopted State which I love treated so poorly. And the final straw was the naming of South Carolina as the dirtiest State in the U.S. this year. Wow is all I can say.

This has lead me to a little political activism as in attending a political rally and writing the Governor of South Carolina who did write me back by the way.  But we all know that government can’t fix everything and we shouldn’t expect it to.  The people have to step up and work for change ourselves, we need to be engaged in the problems surrounding us rather than waiting for someone to do it for us. Just like life. Nobody is going to pull you up by your bootstraps and make your life better for you. You have to do it for yourself.

What I know is this. That each of us can do our part to make the world a little better place.

I urge you to take a walk wherever you live. Look around you and really see.  It doesn’t have to be about litter.  But once you see, you may start to really care about something.  It’s time to care.



  1. As much as it is a pain to do, the simplest thing to reduce most litter is to get a bottle deposit law. West Virginia also takes a nice approach to littering the sign says a nice $ 10,000.00 fine if convicted. While there is litter everywhere, Walmart bags in the trees of the Chattooga, Tires in every river, Cigarette filters anyplace you look, specially around the smoking areas. Drive through the National Forests in the south and you can see where people just dump things the county requires them to pay to get rid of. Everyplace has litter and illegal dumping, it just seems your typical native southerner is the biggest slob on the planet, or that maybe that Jewish fellow they all pray to is going to also pickup the litter when the rapture comes.

    1. Litter is not just endemic to the south. It is a problem in many parts of the world Bill. Everybody is trying to figure out how to resolve it. Not sure what the solution is here. Public shaming might (a big if) help. Also figuring out what people are dumping the most and making people bring their own bags, cups etc. might help. They would be much less likely to throw them away. Lots of fast food trash along the road. Make people pay extra for fast food as a tax and use it to clean up the roads.

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