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Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Valley…Trashed…

TrashedI thought it was the T.V. set for J.P. Patches when Gladys and I pedaled our way by the Tualco Grange this morning. Yes, the parking lot looked like the City Dump: beer cans (Coors silver bullets glinting in the morning sun), bottles, cardboard refuse, plastic bottles. The Shel Silverstein poem came instantly to mind: “Sarah Sylvia Cynthia Stout would not take the garbage out….” The graveled lot looked like a mini-landfill in the making.

The garbage looked so out of place in our Valley where neatness and tidiness are an obvious priority: lawns mowed and trimmed; berry fields, the rows of which look as if they were lined out by a surveyor; houses maintained and painted; pastures and cornfields pictures of pastoral precision. But Tualco Grange looked…well, downright trashy, a blight on my morning’s ride.

Strange coincidence, this unsightly mess in the Grange’s parking lot this morning. Earlier in the day I watched CBS’s Sunday Morning, an artsy, thought-provoking program that’s on our Sunday viewing schedule. One segment consisted of an interview with the actor Jeremy Irons who has made it his personal cause to bring the issue of trash to consumers’ attention. Irons’ documentary Trashed speaks to the issue of world-consumerism and its effects on the environment—the environment in which we conduct our daily business, raise our children—this Planet Earth where we eat, sleep and breathe. In our modern age where we as consumers have, some of us more than others, chronic affluenza because of  the aggressive marketing of products and our propensity to buy them, the need to discard the excesses: the packaging, the portion of the product we don’t consume or want, all this overflow amounts to a higher, deeper pile of garbage somewhere. You’ve heard of the huge whirlpools of plastic refuse in the  oceans of the world? You’ve seen the litter along the state and county right-of-ways, the trash from fast food joints, cigarette butts, plastic bags  and bottles, cans….the parking lots of Swiss Hall and Tualco Grange. What’s the answer to all this dispersal of trash? Just a simple,“Do I really need to buy this…look at the packaging I’ll have to discard (plastic shrink wrap, clamshells, styrofoam bullets, stuff encapsulated in plastic, etc.)? That’s not likely to happen, I’ll admit. But if we just think a bit about what we buy and which portions of that will be cast off as excess, where this excess ends up, and how the environment bears the brunt of it, maybe the planet’s garbage dump will stabilize, and not continue to build. Given the barrage of products and goods  for one to buy and consume, I doubt very much this will happen. But in the meantime, we can at least—even if we are partying and celebrating at rented facilities—pick up after ourselves and “throw the garbage in the trash containers.”makin's of a dump

I understand revenue is essential if the Grange and Swiss Hall are to be maintained and saved for the purposes they were intended—that these facilities remain vacant and idle most of the week--but someone is responsible for renting these facilities and those someones are just as much to blame for the messes left behind by those to whom they rent the facilities as the litterers themselves. Do they require or insist upon a cleaning deposit? Are those who litter and trash the place crossed off the list of future renters? A  team from The Ripple has been sent to investigate the unsightly refuse deposited in the Grange parking lot. The buck stops with the person or persons charged with the superintending of Grange rentals. And The Ripple will get to the bottom of this garbage can and see that it is cleaned up (or at least filled) one way or another.

At least, for heaven’s sake, provide some outdoor trash containers for the celebrants’ convenience. Who knows, they might even use them.

In the meantime here’s a shout out to my environmentally-sensitive friend Nancy L:  in the Grange parking lot there’s a king’s ransom worth of aluminum cans just waiting for you to scoop up, silver bullets by the dozen.Litter...and it hurts

“But renters, remember Sarah Stout

And always take the garbage out!”And make sure it’s disposed of properly. Keep our Valley clean. Please.

Post epilogue: I rode by the Grange this morning. The parking lot was scrubbed and litter-free. To those responsible, the Valley sends its thanks.

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