A couple months ago, my wife and I moved from the dirty dirty of Hollywood to the mile-high mountain town of Idyllwild. The difference has been night and day, both mentally and physically, and my daily dog walks are no longer of an anxiety-inducing nature because, duh, I was now in rural nature and not the urban abattoir.
There was, however, one nagging similarity — the roadside litter. Up until a couple weeks ago, I hadn’t shaken my LA apathy (LApathy?), but then my wife shook me out of it when she spent an hour of her one day off a week while working in Mexico to pick up litter off the beach. So, instead of being fauxtraged, I was inspired to legitimately exercise my outrage and began taking a 10-gallon trash bag along when walking my dog, picking up everything of a trashy sort along the way. Some had clearly been there for years; others for just a few hours.
I pass two major trailheads in the area, so the irony wasn’t necessarily maddening — just saddening. The “weekend warriors” who head up here to escape their urban environments, be they the macro-brew or micro-brew variety, it mattered not: energy-bar wrappers; Starbucks cups; water bottles; yogurt cups; sunscreen containers; wine, liquor and beer bottles — all had either been dropped absentmindedly or quite deliberately cast into the brush or dropped on the roadside.
The most distressing items by far are the cigarette butts and spent firework casings, but hey, I’m the jerk who moved to a Southern California forest of dry kindling, right?
Anyway, I’ve since collected well over 100 gallons of recyclables and straight-up garbage, and every day I still come back with another couple cans, bottles or other people’s discarded dog-poop bags in tow.
So, it’s neat that all you parents are concerned about your kids being the most politically correct emoji-users in the world while texting inanities to their friends, but maybe teaching them the simple value of caring about the environment might be a neat little thing to slip in as well. The world may be a s--- show at large, but it certainly doesn’t need to look like one, too.