A friend recently tweeted:
“The world is my trash can.” –people almost everywhere
Funny, I was thinking the same thing this morning.
I’m walking my kid into school. It’s the first day of summer school and he probably knows where to go and what to do, but I was along to make sure. We park the car, start heading across the parking lot, and make our approach along with a swarm of other parents/grandparents/legal guardians/etc. As we near the sidewalk, I notice what looks to be a family with some extended relatives (looked like grandma and grandpa along with mom and dad and maybe an older sibling/aunt) intersecting pur path. I see a puff of smoke billow from the young lady bringing up the rear. In a fluid motion I assume has been practiced several times, her hand comes up to her mouth, sweeps the cigarette from her lips and in the down swing simply drops the discarded (and presumably still lit) cigarette along the school drive.
Now, this isn’t a post about the health risks of smoking. Not about the costs of satisfying a nicotine addiction. Not about the dangers of second-hand smoke or the effects of smoke on brain development and learning. Not even about the money spent by tobacco lobbyists and the companies they represent to make sure their products continue to poison their users. Smoking is a choice. I have friends who smoke. They are good people. I’m not judging smokers. This is not a post about condemning smoking or smokers.
No. This is a post about self-centeredness.
What other reason can I give for folks thinking it is okay, or more likely, not thinking at all, as they freely throw their trash wherever they want?
It’s just a small cigarette butt (or piece of paper, or gum, or banana peel, or pop can, or candy wrapper, or….). It’ll disintegrate eventually. It will probably get whisked away in the next big storm. It’s no big deal.
And maybe the folks who think this way are right. Maybe it isn’t any big deal that their trash is now littering the world we all share.
But it bothers me.
Do we have so little regard for each other that we freely dump our junk wherever we happen to be when we decide we are finished with whatever has been reduced to trash?
Because this is the issue for me. littering means the trash-maker doesn’t care about the earth, the animals, other people, me. It means the litterer has made a decision, consciously or not, to place themselves at the center of the universe.
You don’t have to be a Christian to believe environmental stewardship makes sense. You don’t have to be a Christian to understand the way we treat the earth reflects what we think about each other. But, if you are a Christian, this strikes at the core of our beliefs.
Love God. Love Neighbor.
Throwing trash out a car window, or along some little used road, or along the drive leading up to an elementary school is not loving.
“Give a hoot. Don’t pollute” Good advice from a few decades ago. Good advice for us today.
I’ll get off my soapbox now (and I’m taking it with me so you’ll know I care enough about you to take my trash with me.)
Life is better together,