January 28, 2002
No land ethics
I heartily agree with a letter in last week's paper about the trash- littered roads in the Woodinville area. However, this is not just a problem in Woodinville. After traveling around other parts of the U.S. and then returning to Washington, I am always appalled at how messy and littered our roads are compared to other states. From personal observation, I would have to say that Western Washington, from the Olympic Peninsula to the Eastside, is one of the dirtiest, filthiest and most disgusting-looking places to drive. I am always in shock how junky "our home" can look. For touting ourselves as being environmentally aware and "green," we do a poor job of walking the talk.
Our roads are inundated with litter and old signs from garage sales or missing pets postings. It is beyond my comprehension that people have no problem putting up these signs, but are too lazy to remove them. And who around here has not seen the work of those irresponsible people who dump car bodies, couches or old appliances along the roadside. I guess now it is someone else's problem so why give it a second thought.
This is a huge issue. It is a socio-economic issue. More exactly, it is a land ethics issue or rather the lack of a land ethic. We don't seem to take care, show respect or responsibility towards the land that feeds and shelters us. As my wife and I do an unofficial "Adopt-a-Highway" twice a year, I surmise that 90 percent of the trash we pick up is fast food restaurants debris, empty beer and pop cans, bottles and slurpy cups. That trash is coming mainly from young adults. The dumped cars, appliances and other waste along with outdated signs comes from adults. So it seems to me that children are not being taught proper land ethics by adults or by schools. We criticize the "ME" generation, but it is we adults who created that generation. Instead of closing our eyes, avoiding the problem and hoping someone else will deal with the issues, we all need to be more responsible and take action. Don't throw garbage out the car window. Bring items to the landfill when necessary and remove signs when a sale is over or a pet is found. If everyone would take just a few minutes to pick up the trash in front of their mailbox, or the debris in the ditch in front of their property this area could look respectable again. We, adults need to lead the way. Only then can we really teach our children the same and tell them why it is so important to respect the land and keep it healthy without being hypocritical.
Dick Schaetzel, Woodinville