By: Michael Hallagan
Today’s political climate is focused around the extensive damage we as people do to the environment. When I think about this issue, I often wonder if I play a strong enough role in the solution. This contemplation finally brought me to the conclusion that I need to become more actively involved. I thought of all the different activities I do on an average day and realized there has always been one human deed that always puts chills on the back of my neck: litter! Every time I hike, I am constantly surrounded by unwanted trash that has been thrown into the local ecosystem out of mere convenience. I knew what needed to be done, so I set out to Oxford’s local park, Peffer Park, to see how much trash could be picked up in an hour’s time.
Peffer Park is located south of Miami University’s campus and is home to amazing geological features accompanied by rivers, cut banks and beautiful bluffs that anyone can go and enjoy. It is a fantastic way for one to enjoy the local scenery and de-stress after a long day. Yet, what dawned on me was how poorly we treat this local park; so, I set out to Peffer Park to see how taking just one hour out of my day could impact our local natural habitat.
Below is a photographical account of my day picking up waste. I found that there was a far greater amount of litter there than I had previously thought. I encourage you to witness how one plastic bottle, one candy wrapper or one shopping bag add up to hurt your local wildlife.
One of the main entrances to Peffer Park.
A shopping bag wrapped around branches next to the park’s entrance.
Within 10 minutes of cleaning, I stumbled upon a cache of litter that was layers deep.
One of the most common sights were empty soda bottles, a weird beverage for hiking!
My first trash bag was almost full after only 20 minutes!
The stuffed trash bag that was filled within eye distance of my car where I started cleaning.
Yet another Dr. Pepper bottle.
In just one hour’s time, I filled two bags full of trash.
By the end of the hour, I filled two trash bags. Even more so, I walked only around 100 yards total in this hour. If we are to be the generation that wants to make an impact, we need to become active in fulfilling that goal. I am not saying everyone reading this must go to their local parks and meticulously pick up every piece of rubbish out there, but there needs to be awareness, prevention and action so that the bigger picture of a green world can be satisfied. If we cannot keep our local communities clean, how can we hope to be successful in keeping our Earth clean?
All photos courtesy of Michael Hallagan