Just Toss It



I've been watching a squirrel on my deck.

He was eating a nut and tossing off the pieces he didn't want. Off it went, down to the ground.

He wasn't concerned with keeping the floor clean. He didn't go look for a trash can, or bother to sweep and vacuum. Nope - he just tossed it off and went to find another one.

Must be nice. But I sort of do the same thing. When I've sliced off the parts of the pepper that I want, I just toss the rest. Into the trash. Unlike the great outdoors, this trash can fits under my sink. But it serves the same purpose - receiving the scraps that I don't want. Which is a lot, now that I'm paying attention. 

Instead of returning to the earth, my scraps get embalmed in a 'sanitary' landfill. In the meantime, more organic stuff is taken from the earth to start the same process over again. Imagine zillions of kitchens, with people tossing endless seeds and skins and leaves, sending them all on a one-way trip.

Oddly, I never thought about this for most of my life. The trash can was just part of the environment, like the sun - probably created on the 3rd day, right after the plants, so Eve wouldn't mess up the garden with apple peels.

And those naughty people who litter? Aren't they are just like the squirrel? When they slurp the soft drink and toss the cup out the window, maybe that's the most natural activity in the world.

We have to be taught not do that, since we aren't supposed to interact directly with the outdoors. We have institutions to do that for us - farms and grocery stores on one end and garbage trucks and landfills with on the other. We are in the middle. The outdoors is 'landscape' - we don't actually live there.

And litter isn't like nutshells that go back into the topsoil.   Plastic straws are forever.

I used to hear a lot about 'biodegradable' - would that some of that research spent making things colorful and appealing included decayability, too.


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