We go into nature to nurture us, heal us, and provide us with a calm, tranquil experience. But how easy that experience can be ruined by the people who were there before us. Ambassador Bozenka shares an experience that really ruined it for her.
This how I am feeling, what I am thinking, what I saw and what I think should happen.
I work in a campground; its located in New Zealand. It’s in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. People come here from far and wide to experience this country, to take photos, post them on Instagram, Facebook and to go back and tell/show their friends ‘n’ family what they saw. People also, I hope, come to experience the beauty, the serenity, the hiking and the great outdoors.
Where I work has the most spectacular view of the lake. I have sat by the lake having a picnic lunch and, on the bench, nearby. I have stood by the lake on a misty freezing morning and in the afternoon with sunny blue skies. Each time I’m in awe of the stunning colours over the mountains on the other side. It is one of the most incredible views I’ve seen; its beauty, its peacefulness that comes over you when you feel like you are the only person in the world. In a world where life can be so overwhelming with everything that’s going on; in the physical sense or online. Standing on the edge of the lake and in this park, you can shut all that out and it can be pure bliss.
Can you see the picture I painted for you? Can you feel the beauty? Can you hear the tranquility? Today was different. I went for a walk. Sadly, the aim of today’s walk was to pick up some rubbish unfortunately I knew was scattered about the campground and park. As I walked around I came across mainly bottle tops; beer tops & water bottle tops embedded in the ground. Then I came to the park bench, a lovely serene place with an incredible view. I bent down to pick up a cigarette butt, then another, and yet another until my bag was half full of cigarette butts and bottle tops. I was angry.
How can anyone sit here and look at this beauty yet happily throw their cigarette butt on the ground?
Where did they think it went? Did they think the rubbish fairy came and disposed of it? Did they think, it’s just a small cigarette butt that wouldn’t harm our beautiful parks? Did they think it’s OK to flick the top of their beer, that it would magically dissolve into the air and no one would notice? I don’t think they thought at all!
As I stood there on the edge of the lake there was only the vast expanse of the wilderness before me and five ducks. Yes, this lake is so massive that I could count just five ducks paddling around and all I could hear was the wings of the birds flying overhead. Those ducks seemed so happy and utterly oblivious to the bag I was holding in my hand and what was inside. I was on the verge of tears. How could anyone think this was OK? How could they not think to put that butt in the bin which was only a few meters away or take the butt with them and place it in another bin to dispose of it in the correct way? Could they not see the beauty before their eyes? Were they not living in a state of bliss and peacefulness? Or were they too busy breathing in smoke they couldn’t care less about the serenity that surrounded them. It irked me, and it angered me.
We as human beings are supposed be the most intelligent, yet sometimes I wonder if we even use our brains at all. We care so little for the world we live in. We have littered this world. We have become a disease that is eating away at such a beautiful place. If we don’t do something now and I mean now, not tomorrow, not next week, not next year but now; then we will lose this beautiful Earth. If we don’t do something about it, then this world won’t be here much longer.
We, all of us humans that love the outdoors and our world have a responsibility to not litter. We must pick up any rubbish we come across. It is our responsibility to make this world a place where we can sit in a park or a campground and not be surrounded by cigarette butts, corroding beer tops, dog waste bags or rubbish scattered on the ground. It’ll leech into the soil and into the water. We must educate our children and the people on the trails and campgrounds. We have one world and we are so privileged to be a part of this world and to exist in it. Let us all not only be kinder to each other, let us also please be kinder to this world and treat it with the respect that we would show ourselves.
Plan a local clean-up your campground, beach or trail day. Put a bag in your back pack. Model it for your children. Pick up garbage and don’t litter.
I am passionate. I am hopeful.