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