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.

December 22, 2012DSC_0937 v3jh copy

1 thought on “Litter

  1. Yes! This must be discussed and really seen. Every single daily walk with my dog I include not only the small biodegradable blue bags for her ‘deposits’ 😉 but I include my trusted old grubby lined canvas bag for bringing back any and all litter I pass on our walk. Years ago I let go of the thought “what use is one person” and am determined that every person makes a difference. I get smiles and ‘good morning’s from other dog (and sans-dog) walkers, and I hope that their seeing me wearing my gloves and carrying my bag and stopping to pull old lids and bits of plastic from long grasses and shrubs is ROLE-modelling that Yes, we all can do it. Love your blog and am so glad to visit here and be inspired. I cheer you on! We can -and must- stop litter!

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