This past weekend was a great time to kayak! The sun was nice and toasty, the waves on the lake were not to high, there was minimal wind. Perfect day!
We packed some water and snacks, loaded up the kayaks and off we went to Lake Arlington, one of the local lakes that is popular for kayaking as well as fishing.
We arrived at the lake, unloaded and after deciding which direction that we wanted to go in, we set off! The waves were not to high for a lake but there were still waves which were about a foot high or so. Just high enough to splash over the front tip of the kayak and keep us cool from the heat of the sun reflecting off the water.
Not in a big hurry, just out for a leisure paddle day, we made our way slowly across the lake. A short distance from the dock we encountered a small head wind which taxed our arms and made us rather tired. Several times on our journey across we had to stop several times to rest our achy arms and just float for a minute or two. Then we were back at it, paddling towards a quite little cove on the other side of the lake.
As we neared the cove the head wind subsided and the waves calmed down. As we entered the cove we were greeted with views of egrets, great herons, turtles and fish jumping. Sounds very picturesque, right? It really was, with the exception of all the garbage that was also there.
I could not believe the amount of garbage that covered the shore line of this picturesque cove! There was new garbage that had been freshly washed up and there was garbage that was very evident that had been there for quite some time partially buried in the muddy earth. Lets be clear, this is not garbage that just blew in from the wind traveling on the waves of the lake. Yes, I am talking about that type but I am also talking about garbage that had to have been dumped there, such as, tires, shopping carts, steel door and such in addition to plastic bottles, coolers, plastic barrels, food wrappers, ect.
Our excitement level was so high that morning anticipating the adventure of finding picturesque coves that you could not tell if someone else had been there before you or not and hoping to see wildlife. It became so very disappointing and disgusting to see all the beauty of the water tainted by the continuing streams of trash and shore birds that carefully picked their way through it searching for fish.
I see things like this and it makes me so angry! What are people thinking when they drop trash, not bio-degradable organic products, off the side of their boat or throw it out their car windows or just leave it on the side-walk. Why? WHY? Why do people do that? Why do some people not take responsibility for their actions and pick up their trash, clean up after themselves? Every year cities organize clean-up days to help combat this nasty habit that some humans have. If every person took responsibility for their own trash and carry it out with them if they are visiting the wilds of Mother Nature and make sure that it is deposited in the appropriate trash receptacle cities would not have to organize clean-ups once a year.
If we quite polluting our waters and land perhaps we would see a reversal in the toxicity of fish, in deaths of birds and deformity of amphibians. What will it take for us, humans, to stop destroying this planet that we live on, the only planet we have. Is this really the legacy that we want to pass on and instill in our children? Don’t think twice about where that garbage goes when you drop it from your hands, it just disappears magically. We don’t know why the ozone is depleting, oceans are warming, or we are having such erratic weather patterns, right? Are we really so ignorant that we can not see that we are creating these issues, killing our planet, or just arrogant?
I challenge everyone, every man, woman and child, to start taking responsibility for themselves and their own trash. I am not saying that you have to be a “rubbish radical”, although if more people were it would be very beneficial for ourselves and for our planet. I am saying, start by taking one more step over what you currently do to help clean up this place we, you, live in.