Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Eye on Life

Broad interest online magazine

Random musings

No cure for stupid

I recently joined the small band of those who give a damn on the beach clean-up at Kommetjie. It was depressing for a number of reasons. The beach looked perfect, but was in fact just a thin layer of sand covering the plastic jetsam that is all a beachcomber can find these days. The dunes are nothing but a future archaeological digging site for the waste of today’s civilisation. The number of people attempting to make a difference was pathetically small – breakfast at a local coffee shop was oversubscribed. Of course, cleaning up is not the solution. Eliminating the source is the answer, and we all know that will never be achieved, as mankind continues to contaminate the only planet he has – forget Mars, it won’t happen – in a frenzied quest to have the biggest bank balance before dying.
When hiking in the mountains, I am constantly amazed at the mess left behind by other hikers. You would think that anyone who could be bothered to go to the effort of getting up there would be doing it to enjoy the beauty of their surroundings, and yet empty bottles (glass and plastic), sweet packets, cigarette butts and tissues litter the sides of the paths. They carry them up the mountain full, but it is too difficult to carry them back down empty.
You might ask whether I pick up the litter I see. Mostly it is too disgusting to touch without a hazard suit, but it is usually thrown down an inaccessible slope to lodge in a tree as a permanent ornament, and there is no sense in risking injury to clean up after a lout. I also feel that life is about choice and responsibility, and this can be applied in many ways. It is their choice to litter, and not my responsibility to clean up after them. It is my choice not to litter and thus they have no responsibility to clean up after me. I could choose to pick up litter wherever I see it, but then I am robbing the litterers of the opportunity to be responsible for cleaning up, and they will continue to be irresponsible members of society with nothing to contribute.
The conclusion that I come to is that there is no cure for stupid. Actually there is. In Singapore you can be sentenced to a Corrective Work Order for littering and have to clean up a specified area wearing a very visible bright green vest so people know you are a litterer. Can you even imagine that being enforced here? The business to be in would be manufacturing the bright green vests.

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