Part II. Environment. For Part I see here: On Are Things Getting Better …? (Part I) – They Cant Eat Ya
My family and I adopted the mile we live on in the “Adopt A City Street” program and named it for our mother and father, who died in 2018 and 2020, respectively. Our part of the program is cleaning up the mile four times a year (once per quarter), and the City’s part is to pick up the bags of trash we collect and put up this nifty sign. It is a win-win situation, I think. My family may not agree, but I enjoy it. I really do.
The first cleanup was in March. It was a sunny day, but still very cool outside. It took us an entire day to gather the things that people had discarded from the comfort of their driver’s seat. Some items, a paper cup, water bottle, a random Twix wrapper, were obviously tossed out without a thought. While others, a bed bug ridden couch wrapped in plastic, old tires, bags of lawn trash, were clearly planned and left along our country road by the dark of night.
In spite of my signage, people aren’t getting the message. Or are they?
Yesterday was our Q2 cleanup and we made it the entire mile in less time than the partial Q1 cleanup in March. I kept thinking, this is so much easier than last time. I wonder why? I came up with some options:
Time? Since the Q1 visit was the first in, let’s see, uhm, carry the two…. uh…. yeah, OK… in forever, it is obvious there would be more trash to pick up. A lot of the trash we could not pick up because it disintegrated at our touch. To my knowledge, no one has ever intentionally cleaned up our mile in my lifetime. I am 59. So, it is reasonable to assume there would be less trash in the time period between March and June, than in between the dawn of time and March, 2023.
Foliage? It could be that the incredible amount of fauna along the roadsides caused by massive amounts of spring rain has created hidden areas for the trash. Maybe it is there, as much as it was before, but it is out of our sight. We shall find out in Q3, with the dryness that typically comes in September.
Can we thank Bud Light? My observation during the Q1 cleanup was that there were more Bud Light cans than any other type of beer can. In fact, there were more bottles and cans from Budweiser products than anything else. My conclusion was that Budweiser consumers are more likely to drink and drive and toss the evidence before turning toward home than other beer drinkers (not one Stella bottle to be found). I believe there are more human pigs (no disrespect to actual swine) among Bud Light consumers than any other beer. I’m not saying all Bud Light consumers are pigs, but if you are a Bud Light consumer and are not a human pig, you have friends and family who are.
The volume of Bud Light cans and bottles during the Q2 cleanup was noticeably less than in the Q1 cleanup. I think I picked up four total. Now, allowing for the fact that there was less overall trash, fewer Bud Light cans could be expected, but there was less overall trash represented by the Budweiser company than any other beer. What is the meaning of this?
I often wonder how social movements that don’t pertain to me effect me. [Brief aside: I am a straight, white, American, very few movements pertain to me. I can vote, I can work in whatever job I have the skills for, love whomever I love without fear, and live wherever I can afford. What kind of movement do I even need?] But could it be that the recent boycott of enraged Bud Light consumers because of an “atta girl” the company sent out to a transgender woman, DID benefit me after all? The fewer Bud Light cans are one thing, but there was no increase in other kinds of cans. This could mean that: (1) The taste buds of Bud Light drinkers have been so damaged that they cannot tolerate better beers and so have had to quit drinking beer altogether; or (2) since they can’t quit drinking altogether, they have become closet Bud Light drinkers for fear of being shamed by their cronies and are staying home instead of drinking with buddies. Either option means fewer Bud Light drinkers on the road. Bam! This movement that seemingly had little to do with me, did, in fact, improve my life. Well done, Bud Light, you are the “real men of genius!”
As an aside, Starbucks consumers beat out Budweiser consumers for trashiest in Q2 along Hiwassee Road.
Or Are Things Getting Better? I did note that many of the residence along the mile have cleaned and mowed their own frontage areas. We were able to skip entire properties because the homeowners themselves were doing the right thing. Their road easements were clean and clipped and left nothing for us to do. Did our clean up days start a movement? Did seeing us clean up their frontage cause a bit of embarrassment that made them see the situation with new eyes? I wonder, also, if the random yahoo (pronounced YAY-hoo in these parts), traveling down our little mile in search of a place to leave that which he no longer wants is less comfortable dumping his broken ironing board or mildewed camping equipment on a well maintained, clean street where people obviously live and care.
Maybe clean begets clean. Maybe care begets care. Maybe things are getting better.
I like to think they are.
Stay tuned for Part III. We will discuss turtles!