Friday, September 30, 2011

Litter Mob 11 - the score

There were three of us: the author, the artist and the...well, me. And our minder, who was off busying himself with various things.

Frank, Elizabeth and I fanned out into the woods, talking about why we are doing what we're doing. For me the answer changes on a regular basis. I'm not sure anymore. Because it is there?

At one point we all sniffed about suspiciously. Something smelled terrible. We checked our shoes, we looked at each other, then one confessed, I think I bagged some s&*t. Oh, we said. And went on working. Then I started to laugh, and laugh and laugh. That it was so matter of fact. That is seemed quite normal.

Later, when Jessica (Volunteer Coordinator) and Eric Landau ( Director of Government and Community Affairs) were chatting to us,  I sat down on one of the low log fences that line the big wood chip paths. You are SITTING on that? asked Elizabeth. Well, my back was sore.

Because of what we pick up and where we find it, no place seems safe anymore. If you are organized enough to bring in tissues, condoms, wet wipes, lube,  a post sex cigar, and drinks, then you have the wits to bag it and carry it out. You do. I know you do.

There are wildflowers here, there are interesting fungi, the winterberries are scarletting on their branches, and above us I saw monarch butterflies drifting amongst the highest branches, on their way to Mexico. I picked up a cardinal feather. A chipmunk watched me warily, desperate to pick up his nut but doubting my intentions.

We suggested programs encouraging people to use these woods  - to bring people in to the place that is avoided because it feels creepy. School programs, native plant walks.  Our idea about outreach, working with safe sex organizations (whose successful evangelism is evident in the many condoms scattered about) to educate about littering, is not one that the Volunteer Office or Alliance is able or willing to engage, based on this week's conversation.

I do want change - I'm not happy just picking up the leavings, perpetuating this cycle. But the message seems to boil down to this, unless I am misunderstanding: if you want change in this park, you will enact it yourself - your time, your money (or other people's money that you raise and we spend), your labour.

And that is a fulltime job.

[What has been done in our absence: two trash cans have been added to the entrances to the woods, a path has been fenced off.]

Litter Mob Results:

6 bags of trash, 1 bike

Seasonal wildflowers spotted:

Ageratina altissima -  snakeroot
Aster laevis - smooth blue aster
Eurybia divaricata - white wood aster
Impatiens capensis - jewelweed
Solidago caesia - wreath golden rod


Anonymous said...

Many of us are grateful for the new trash cans. I always carry my disposable sex paraphernalia to them to avoid littering, just as I do indoors; doing otherwise is selfishly hostile as a concept alone. Acts of pleasure have many responsibilities.

NYC is filled with pigs with no respect for nature or sense of responsibility for themselves, easily witnessed in many contexts that are not sexual.

All those purposely down trees laid as mesh in the bridal paths have been hard to navigate at night though; what a cruel strategy of pain infliction. ;-(

Marie said...

Anonymous - really? Well, that's great news. About finding the trash cans useful, I mean :-)Spread the word, by all means.

There are no branches in the bridal paths (where the horses go), though...unless something has changed in our absence.

Brush on side paths is to try and protect the forest floor.