“Don’t put that in your mouth!”
I remember saying that to my kids on multiple occasions, including one time about 30 seconds before my son swallowed a 3/8″ steel ball from one of his building sets. Everyone out there that either has kids or was once a kid has heard these words hundreds, or even thousands, of times. But what if we didn’t?
What if we didn’t know.
What if we nobody told us? What if we didn’t know what we should or shouldn’t put in our mouths and try to eat? What if we couldn’t draw on the collective knowledge of all those that have gone before us?
What if we still foraged for food. You’re out riding on the bike trails with your son or daughter and everyone is getting hungry. You pull over next to a raspberry bush, pull off a few berries and then spot a bright red bottle cap. It all looks good, you all eat your fill and then head off to continue your ride. Sounds absurd, right? It happens. Well, kind of.
This lady to the left is an Albatross. Not the Albatross from classic literature, but a living, breathing creature, decent social life, good parents, but nobody to tell it what to eat. Well, that isn’t entirely true, because her parents bring her much of her food, but nobody tells them what might be bad for them. Not a big deal though, as they get their sustenance from the ocean, full of great things to eat. Well, great things to eat, and some other stuff.
We kill Albatrosses in Iowa. Well, to put it more correctly, we kill Albatrosses FROM Iowa; and California, Florida, Maryland, and from everywhere else in the U.S. And not just Albatross, but all kinds of wildlife, fish, and birds. This story from NPR highlights the severity and the impact of the issue. Also be sure not to miss these Albatross pictures. While they are heartbreaking, I think they poignantly show the severity of the issue.
Innocent fun, deadly consequences.
From the outside it looks like a picnic, a family reunion, or a barbecue with friends, but too often we leave behind the by-products of our
celebration in the form of various plastics and other forms of trash. Ultimately bits and pieces of this plastic end up in our rivers, lakes, creeks, and ultimately, the ocean. Birds eat it and feed it to their offspring, ultimately killing them. Animals eat them and choke and die. Fish eat them and go belly up.
To fix the problem is incredibly expensive. To prevent the problem is cheap and easy.
Cleaning up the oceans is a daunting task. Teaching a bird what he can or can’t eat is likely even harder. Picking up what has already been left behind is doable. Preventing this from happening in the future is incredibly simple.
Tell your family, tell your friends, and share with everyone that you can the importance of hauling out and recycling our own waste, whether it is while enjoying nature, having dinner on your deck, or opening your car door at the grocery store (not that I ever have trash on the floor of my car!)
If you see an area littered with trash, wherever, snap a picture. Then take a couple minutes and reverse the effect of somebody else. If you would grab another picture of the new, pristine environment and post the before and afters on our Facebook Page, we can help spread the word and stem the tide. Awareness coupled with a little peer pressure can change the world.
Thanks for your help. Don’t Trash Nature. The Albatross you save may be your own.