Today while I was walking one of our neighbors drove up alongside me and we talked about how neither of us was crazy about the recent snow. We both agreed we'd rather have warm weather but at least the snow covers up the litter along the side of the road. He actually apologized to me (not because he litters) because he recognized that we seem to get more litter in front of our house than just about anywhere else in our neighborhood. Our property abuts a country store and I guess people grab something to eat or drink and don't want to carry their trash in their car longer than 1/20th of a mile so they toss it out their window into our lawn. It astounds me how much litter gathers in a day. James often returns from a run with a bag full of trash he collected before walking up our driveway. The next day you'd never know he picked anything up. It really is that bad.
Who are these litterbugs? Is it something they started doing as an adult or have they been doing it their whole lives? I really thought that all parents taught their kids not to litter. I guess I was wrong. I have followed people in cars and trucks who have thrown something out their window and I'm sure they new I was behind them. I've also seen someone throw trash in our yard when I was out there but I'm not sure they saw me. I'm pretty sure those people who throw their baby's dirty diaper in our yard aren't teaching their children not to litter.
If we put a camera up at the end of our lane and took pictures of the license plates of the people littering and took it to the police, I wonder if they would fine those folks. Would it make a difference if we put a big sign out that said Please Don't Litter? Doubtful. Maybe if we put a huge trashcan out there with a very wide opening people would at least shoot for it with their trash like shooting a basketball.
I read a story of a woman who saw a cop throw the wrapper from his burger out his window in a parking lot. She approached him, picked up the wrapper, handed it to him and said, "I know you didn't mean to drop this or have my children see you do this from inside the store". He stared at her for a few seconds and then very quietly said, "thank you ma'am". I bet he didn't litter again.
What can we do to make people more respectful of our earth? Of their own neighborhoods? Remember this commercial from the 70's? Apparently it didn't make a difference.
Maybe I should start a campaign in our neighborhood. Any ideas?