Wednesday, April 24, 2013

On the Trail of Stupid People

   The splitting ax is feeling heavy, so I set it down and decide to stroll out to the highway. It is still chilly for this late into April but the sun is bright and I might get to see the first signs of new life poking through soil just freed of the winter snows.
   At the highway, a glint catches my eye. It’s a juice bottle tossed from a car window. Then another glint. This one a beer can similarly pitched from a vehicle travelling Ontario Highway 35. There are more, lots more, bottles, cans and cartons.
   In 696 steps along one side of the highway I record 37 items thrown from passing vehicles. That’s one piece of garbage for every 18.8 steps. The tally breakdown: 17 pop or juice bottles, 7 paper coffee cups, 6 plastic water bottles, 4 beer cans, and 3 cigarette packages. That does not include other garbage such as pieces of paper, plastic bags, miscellaneous pieces of plastic and metal and other garbage.
   696 steps, roughly  one-quarter of a mile. Imagine the tons of thoughtlessly discarded items along the hundreds of thousands of miles of North America’s highways.
   Littering is against the law in most jurisdictions. However, the cans and bottles along those 696 steps are more proof that you can’t legislate a stop to stupidity. Stupid people stop doing stupid things only when the rest of us work to make doing stupid things socially unacceptable.

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