Josh Prince’s Longitude, Gratitude — And Garbage

Alert “06880” reader Josh Prince loves to ride his motorbike through Westport and Fairfield.

He blogs about his jaunts too, on Longitude & Gratitude.

We’re blessed, he says, with “genuinely fair fields, plus lazy, rolling hills, old-growth forests, New England onion farms, wetlands, a gorgeous but gentle saltwater coastline, Revolutionary and Civil War-era homes, and tumbledown stone walls everywhere you look.”

The other day — forced off his Vespa Granturismo by the dreaded polar vortex — he took a combination walk/jog on Long Lots and Hulls Farm Roads. Josh went “just fast enough to break a sweat, but slow enough to observe the stark, mid-winter beauty” of the area.

He found it.

Along with plenty of litter.

Josh documented his travels with a few dozen photos.

For example:

Josh Prince 1

Josh Prince 2

Josh Prince 4

Josh Prince 3

The next day — realizing the trash wasn’t going to pick itself up — he grabbed his iPod, work gloves and a few black bags, and headed back.

Josh wrote about what he learned:

1) You need more than 1 bag.

2) Wet  newspapers — still in their plastic — weigh as much as a cinderblock.

3) Don’t bother with cigarette butts. They’re tough to pick up; there are a bazillion of them, and if you set out to achieve a pure state of trashlessness, you will be physically and emotionally doomed.

4) There is a direct correlation between the height and elaborateness of a home’s wall or fence, the size of the property fronting the street, and the amount of trash.

These homeowners may not actually ever see the trash. They drive into their driveways, close their gates with a remote, and that’s that.

A 2nd possibility is that they may not choose to see the trash. Everything that’s on their side of the wall may be pristine, but on the road-side of their walls? Someone else’s problem.

A 3rd possibility is that they do see it, are aware of it and just as disgusted by it, but they still don’t do anything about it.

Ta da!

Ta da!

5) I have no idea who actually litters, and I’m actually not that interested in trying to understand (or reprimand) them. Their actions are so beyond  comprehension that I’d rather not obsess about their mindless, selfish, antisocial behavior. I’m not going to bother to write my senator to introduce a cigarette butt bill. I’m not even going to get angry.

There’s zero satisfaction, productivity or progress in that. But there’s a ton when you decide to pick stuff up.

(To read Josh Prince’s entire blog about garbage, click here — the scroll down.)

12 responses to “Josh Prince’s Longitude, Gratitude — And Garbage

  1. Every piece of trash eventually gets picked up Josh. Good karma for you. Trash sometimes just happens, not always by unaware litterers. Make it a life habit and you will be a better person.

  2. A hearty thank you to Dan for raising the local litter flag via my blog post. For what it’s worth, I’m not interested in becoming a trash crusader, or a finger-wagger about neighbors with fences and nice homes. Or a humblebrag litter-picker, either, for that matter.

    I’m way more interested in throttles than carelessly discarded bottles. But the street side trash–apparent to anyone who walks, runs, or bikes around Wesport & Fairfield–was and is a real bummer. I love my adopted town–as I’ve said, “it’s one of the loveliest corners of this green earth.” And if the consciousness-raising via Dan results in even a little more seeing and a little more pick-up, it’s reason to celebrate. For me, with a ride!

  3. Remember when we were growing up there were “don’t be a litterbug” signs and signs about fines for littering everywhere you went? They are gone and with them came in a whole unaware generation – yes, our children – who are unaware. But then, those signs weren’t particularly attractive either…..

  4. Armelle Daniels

    Coincidently, I just noticed (still need to pick up!) a crushed paper cup right below my mailbox, and thought: “who does something like this?” Brad, I understand your point, but there is no way a person drives or walks around with a cup of coffee in their hand, and suddenly, that cup falls on the floor and they are “unaware” that it’s no longer in their hand…

  5. I’ve always felt that if everyone simply picked up after themselves, the world would be a measurably more beautiful place. And…the value of beauty to the human heart is incalculable.

  6. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    And then there’s the dog poop issue.

  7. Terry Anzalone

    We get very tired of picking up other people’s garbage in front of our house! One day we were standing in the front yard while a man and lady walking up the street threw their dog poop bag into our bagged leaves that we just filled.
    We were all too shocked to say a word….

  8. Bill Blaufuss

    A little litter is a lotta ugly.

    All it takes is to pick it up. Voila! Things look better already.

    I would not say that we can ever educate everyone not to litter, but the more it is tolerated – i.e. just left there – the more it accumulates, and appears to be be tolerated.

    Like Josh says, pick it up and see how good you feel – how ‘nice’ it looks after you pick it up. To heck with whomever put it there in the first place.

    Signed,
    Inveterate litter picker-upper

  9. I LOVE TO SEE THAT THE TRASH PICK-UP GENE STILL EXISTS IN WESTPORT. I BROUGHT MINE TO NM, WHERE I COULD P/U TRASH UNTIL THE DAY I DIE. ALSO, I HEARD YEARS AGO THAT NEWPORT, RI HAD SIMILAR ACTIVITIES OCCURING. IT MAY HAVE BEEN A WINDSURFING INSTRUCTOR, I’M NOT SURE. KEEP ON PICKING-UP!

  10. Wait, old growth forests? Really? Where???

  11. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    If Jimmy Stewart, in 1957, can think twice about throwing his sandwich wrapper out of the plane then so can everyone!

  12. When I used to run, which I did for 30 years, I would scoop down to pick up bottles and trash and place it directly under the nearest mailbox. The next day it was gone. Not to lay blame, but since half the cans I picked up were beer, half of these Budweiser, I suspect much of the stuff thrown out of car windows is done out of resentment for the gap in class structure. Those paid to keep all these McMansion properties clean, take revenge by spoiling the scenery around them. It beats torches and pitchforks!