A recent issue of National Geographic magazine featured an article discussing the human population of Earth reaching 7 billion. To accommodate the growth of humanity and our widening global footprint, cities spread inexorably into rural and wilderness areas leaving shopping malls and housing subdivisions where farmland and forests once stood. The phenomenon is called urban sprawl, and it is responsible for habitat loss and the displacement of large numbers of wild animals. However, urban sprawl is only one side effect of our growth that is negatively impacting the natural world; the unprecedented increase in garbage and human refuse is another.
People create an enormous volume of trash; an incredible amount of trash becomes litter and litter frequently makes its way into the wilderness. Whether introduced accidentally or through sheer carelessness, litter in a natural setting is jarring; a highly visible blight identifying the unmistakable presence of Man. Urban natural areas (the parks, forests, rivers and lakes that are in close proximity to cities) are frequently heavily utilized for recreation and therefore exceedingly vulnerable to human impact. We seek out these natural areas as an antidote to city life and too many times, frequently because of our litter, leave them in poor condition. Multiply the nuisance and damage of litter from a single individual by the thousands of visitors that these natural areas are exposed to on an annual basis and the problem grows exponentially.
Litter is a purely human creation and finding so much of it within our urban natural areas is a tragedy. The struggle of wild creatures innocently living their lives within a habitat increasingly polluted by our trash is sadly compelling. It is my hope that the photography and stories found on this blog will draw attention to the litter problem and that positive change, a cleaner environment, will be the result.