It’s symbolic, damn you!
Hard to talk about this without sounding like an old fart. I’ll have to keep reminding you I’m hella young and funky to the point of funkay.
(That first sentence is a good start; it’s a fragment. The youth don’t like no grammar.)
Littering is one of those things I find hard to understand, so devoted am I to common sense and basic decency. Here’s the choice: We can live in a nice clean world where the streets are free from chewing gum, burger wrappers and cigarette butts, or we can live in a gigantic shit heap and blur the line between park and landfill. It’s a simple choice but we live with simple people, and they choose the shit heap.
(I don’t find Avril Lavigne’s lyrics banal, and I connect with her on an emotional level because she expresses my feelings of isolation.)
Keep Britain Tidy reckons we spend hundreds of millions of pounds every year clearing up the things everyday folks leave behind; the countrywide network of Wombles doesn’t come cheap. That’s a lot of money to spend on something so pointless but there is hope in the form of us.
(I hate you/I didn’t ask to be born.)
Littering is a reverse Butterfly, an example of individual action adding up to something lousy. Every piece of litter you’ve ever seen was dropped by someone. If they’d not dropped it we’d have one less piece of litter, and if everyone copied them we’d have no litter at all.
(I’ve heard they’ll flush my head down the toilet in big school.)
So here’s how to save the universe: Stop littering. Now we’ve agreed to that, onto the next thing: Sorting out the stuff left by the people who won’t stop littering. Next time we see a bit of litter on the ground, we’ll pick it up and put it in the next bin we find because just complaining about it would be pointless.
(I fell over and got a boo-boo.)
And we can do more than that. We can be litter snitches! If we’re trotting to work and see a washing machine sitting in a ditch we can phone the council and get it removed. We can get a few friends together and head for a particularly messy area armed with gloves, bin bags and a hefty portion of smug to turn it into something worth looking at. And we’re not just going for a cosmetic difference here. Most of the litter we collect can be recycled which will help conserve natural resources and reduce the energy used to make new materials. It’s a piece of piss, this world-saving lark. Get on it.
(Potty training’s harder than it looks.)
We’ll awaken humanity to its many follies!
We’ll live like we're in a John Lennon song!
Photo credit: The Zero
Related Blog Posts
Alone in electric dreams
After 11 months of dithering, three nights of barely any sleep, and one day of sweating with guilt in a showroom, I finally bought an electric car. Here’s how it’s been:
Public charging, it turns out, is a piece of piss.
The Big Plastic Count: World’s Worst Typo Successfully Avoided
Among the million things we need to do to avert climate breakdown, kicking the arse out of plastic is one of the most urgent. Plastic comes from dirty-bad oil, gas and coal, using about 4.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions and about 6% of coal-fired electricity in its production. We’re bringing on the sixth mass extinction for the sake of shrink-wrapped broccoli.
Doing nothing for the environment
In my withered, Covid-infested state I find myself doing less and less for the big battles we need to win: Yer climate breakdown, yer rise of fascism, yer eating the rich. But recently I’ve discovered a critical area of climate activism that requires even less effort than doing very little: Doing nothing at all! By which I mean I’m buying less shit.
9 life hacks for ignoring the IPCC climate report
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the IPCC – issued its latest report this week, pointing out how monumentally fucked we are because we like cars, burgers and mass extinctions. It makes for grim reading – but only if you actually read it. Here are nine ways you can avoid giving it any thought at all!
An almost buyer’s guide to electric cars 2: Electric car boogaloo
Desperate to avoid petrol I hired an electric car for the purposes of hard science. I requisitioned a Renault Zoe for a few days, rented a lab coat and three pens for its pocket, bought a clipboard outright and began the grand experiment. The key tests were how well the battery lasted with my commute and the business of social work, how quickly it drained when parked overnight, how big a pain in the arse public charge points are, and how often I’d have to use the buggers.
An almost buyer’s guide to electric cars, maybe
Back in the arse-end of 2019 I finally ditched my car, having decided humanity was marginally more important than an easy commute. But then Covid hit. And hit me right in the face. Almost two years later I’m still having trouble walking, still working fully from home and only just starting full time hours. I need a car. Which means I need an electric car, which means a lot of expense…
COP26 midterm report: Must try harder
We’ve made it halfway through COP26. It’s been a week of photo ops and erasures, announcements and sucker-punches, protests and Borises being colossal shits. On the surface there have been some decent announcements…
Climate anxiety: The self-righteousest of all anxieties
And so we find ourselves on the eve of COP26, where highfalutin delegates from around 200 countries will come together in Glasgow to either unite the world to tackle climate change or to talk shit, greenwash their failures and prove virtue signalling is a real thing after all. In preparation I’ve been hard at work on my soul-crushing climate anxiety. This requires long nights lying awake fretting, long days doomscrolling social media. It requires your heart pounding against your ribs so hard it actually makes a noise.
A three-legged carbon footprint
My grand return to the world of disability hasn’t been great for carbon footprinting. The early, housebound stage was amazing, obviously. The plus side of not leaving my bed for months is that it reduced my emissions – and my activity, social life and hope – to zero. But as I got more with it, public transport was no longer an option…