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Does This Sound Trashy?

There is a breed of bird that is slowing down reproduction on the Galapagos Islands which lines it up for extinction. We are killing off entire species because some can’t manage to pick up after themselves. Litter is killing.

About a hundred and fifty years ago, an explorer named Charles Darwin visited these islands on a ship named The Beagle. He discovered so many unknown species of plants and animals that he created a firestorm of interest in these mysterious islands that continues to burn. Today, trips out of Lima, Peru (the closest port) are continuous and filled to the max by people wanting to experience the area.

Researchers visit this area and take home specimens that have never been seen or recorded before. But, with all that interest, a problem has surfaced. So many tourists visit the area and leave trash on the beaches that ants have begun to infiltrate the area. Those same ants are stinging and hampering the survival of the baby birds that live in the area. It sounds inane that something so careless as littering could obliterate a species but here it is, in living color, recorded by scientists who don’t know how to stop the damage.

On the other side of the globe, I witnessed another spectacle of man. In 1982, I was visiting London, England and I took a taxi, then a train, then a bus to visit Stonehenge. At that point, you could walk among those humongous, towering stones and feel their energy.

Ten years later, I revisited those same rocks and the area was roped off. Graffiti had been painted on one of the rocks. Taggers had hit the historical sites created by Druid priests (allegedly) centuries ago as an ancient calendar.

What does it take to infuse the Native American attitude that emphatically says to leave an area the same way you found it? From the aboriginals in Australia to the Masaai tribes in Africa, the theme remains the same. We are not here to disturb the earth. And yet, we do.

Here in Texas, after months of ongoing effort, I picked up all the trash along the road leading up to my mother’s property. For only a mile of road, it took me an entire month to clear the left-behind beer cans, liquor bottles, cigarette packages, etc., that lined the country road.

I’m not condemning, condoning or trashing us (pardon the pun.) I’m just asking that we stay aware as it pertains to our surroundings. Always leave a place in better shape than you found it. It’s as simple as that.


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