“Take only memories, leave only footprints.” Chief Seattle
As a photographer I love to make images that convey the beauty of the landscape. Images that make you go “ahh! I want to be there”, images to share the places I see that take my breath away. I maneuver my position and camera angle to exploit the best possible light, to create a snapshot of time standing still that you can step in to, smell the air, feel the breeze, hear the rustle of leaves, the lapping of water on the shore line and the varied calls of the wildlife that inhabit the terrain.
What you don’t see in the images is the is the ugliness that humans wreak on the environment. Recently, I took a much-needed break and headed out to one of my favorite places to hang out and photograph the nature and enjoy the wildlife that I am lucky enough to have just a few miles from home. I see happy families fishing off the shoreline, people laughing, enjoying boats on the water, carefree groups picnicking and camping.
And I see trash. Lots and lots of trash.
I shouldn’t be surprised. I do, after all, take part in the clean up endeavors organized by CleanJordanLake.org and have seen first hand the mountains of waste that finds its way downstream ending up in our lake. What I don’t understand is the utter careless ambivalence by the very people who enjoy all that our lake has to offer, discarding their garbage as though it’s going to magically be swallowed up by the earth and do no damage.
Here’s a look at the variety of “species” I encountered.
Last year, a friend and I rescued a Great Blue Heron caught up in fishing line. All you need to do is Google wildlife rehab centers to see the magnitude of injured and killed wildlife affected by this every day.
I wish a lot of things…I wish there was a better ability by park authorities to police the litterers, I wish fast food chains could be fined or have to pay a tax to use styrofoam. I wish there was more incentive for recycling, although the preservation of our resources should be enough. I wish people weren’t so careless and uncaring. I can only make a small dent. I carry trash bags in my car to collect what I can and participate in organized clean ups but it’s a daunting and never-ending task.
Pick up a piece of trash. Clean up after yourself and leave the places you visit and enjoy better than how you found them.