"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

How much money are YOU throwing away?

It costs £6 million to deal with the food we throw away every year - and that's just in Surrey UK! That's one county among many. And that's the cost of collecting and recycling the stuff, and it's just a third of the total food we waste.
And that money could fund 630 primary school places, buy a million library books or fix 108,000 potholes. 
Those are the stats in the latest magazine we receive regularly called Surrey Matters, from Surrey County Council.
That got me thinking again about the cost of litter. It costs council tax payers in England £885 million to clear up our litter and by 2015 this is projected to nudge £1 billion!! That's lots of kids not being taught, books not being bought and potholes not being mended!!
And in America it's no better. Just have a look at http://www.ecori.org/pollution-contamination/2012/2/2/societal-cost-of-litter-is-largely-hidden.html for lots more info about the cost of litter on the other side of the pond.
Down the side of this blog you'll find an infographic from cleanupbritain.org that paints a shocking picture.
You can sign the pledge there to do your bit to clean up your country, wherever you may live. Think of the money that at the end of the day must come out of our own pockets if we don't take our litter home with us and if we chuck so much food away!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Trash, garbage, litter, rubbish, refuse, junk

Trash, garbage, litter, rubbish, refuse, junk, waste; whatever we want to call it, thrown down in the wrong place it is unsightly, costs us billions each year to clear up, and is a blight on our roads, verges, highways, countryside, parks, wherever in fact we live and work and have our being.
Consider this, taken, it is true, from an article in The Scotsman by Derek Robertson, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, although the issue is relevant everywhere in the world, in the Americas, Europe, and in just about every society where humans live:

“Litter is actually a more serious and ­further-reaching problem than many people might think. There is a visual problem, of course. However, littering also has social consequences and causes negative outcomes in relation to our health, our society and our public spending.
The Carnegie UK Trust recently reported that incidences of illness, depression and medical intervention were higher in areas that were filthy and litter-strewn. Furthermore, the report found fear of crime is higher where there are high ­occurrences of litter and other environmental incivilities such as dog-fouling, fly-tipping and graffiti.”
And if you still don’t think this affects you, you should consider that huge sums of money are spent by our authorities every year cleaning up our litter.
This, the article points out, is your litter, from your streets, and it is your money; money that could be better spent, perhaps on healthcare or education or parks or playgrounds or other valuable amenities. 
Please read the full article, wherever you live, and whether or not you can see for yourself the problem around you. I hope this will open your eyes. Please let me know whether you see this as a problem where you live. Is anything being done about it? Do you care? I care very deeply indeed, and like Derek Robertson, I think that we need to start cleaning up our world, urgently. 

To this end I am happy to wear my Zilch  litter patrol high viz vest as I walk around my area and beyond, doing my own bit to clean up our country. 

Will you do the same? Please? And I welcome all ideas as to how we educate people to take their trash home with them and put it in their own trash bins.

This is the harvest from one hour's litter pick by me recently on a short stretch of a local main road!!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

I live in a rubbish heap!

I used to live in a beautiful countryside. Now I live in a rubbish heap. It’s an enormous rubbish heap. And I’m right bang in the middle of it; or so it seems. And I find it very depressing indeed.

And in the middle of that huge rubbish heap I have my own very small piece of land. Well I say it is my own, but in fact I have borrowed it and my tenure is insecure. One day it is highly likely that others will try to take it over and build dens on it to live in, pushing me off my plot. I won’t like that. I’m a bit of a loner actually, and I’m very happy spending many hours alone on that plot, from which nature provides me with most of my food needs: leaves, shoots, flowers, fruit, seeds and so on. I particularly love the wild strawberries that appear in abundance on my plot each summer. They are sweet and delicious, although fiddly to pluck! I love the warmth of the sun on my back, the soft breeze on my face, the sound of birds singing overhead, the sight of fellow creatures in the distance enjoying just being, on their own pieces of land, along with the rabbits, the pheasants, the mice and the occasional deer.
I say I’m a loner, but once I leave my plot to go back into the wider world around me, I have to join hundreds and thousands of my fellow creatures, as they all hurry and scurry to and fro, often in purposeful straight lines, on specially made tracks, and always, it seems in a rush to be somewhere else!! And these creatures are enveloped in what seem like tough metallic carapaces, of many different colours, shapes and sizes. Actually their shells are not always that tough as they can crumple very badly when they hit others at speed. But many don’t seem to realise that, or even care, judging by the careless way they travel around!

It fascinates me that these creatures need to graze continually. So they often feel the need on their journeys to stop off at food distribution points that they have created for their own convenience across the countryside, some small, others very large indeed, where they can refuel with things to eat and drink. Such food bears little similarity with what I grow and eat. And the liquids they consume are very unlike the natural water that is available for me to drink, that comes out of the heavens above, pure and clean and fresh and healthy. For a start their food and drink is often full of strange chemicals, which may even be poisonous. Who knows? And it usually comes wrapped in tough materials that do not rot down like the vegetative waste on my own little plot. And these creatures are in such a hurry to carry on with their journey, in such a rush to get to somewhere else, that they often take the wrapped food and drink with them into a storage space within their carapaces, so that they can graze as they travel along. This seems dangerous to me. How can they do so many things at once? The worst thing is that when they have finished eating and drinking, these creatures don’t want to keep any rubbish within their shell, so they throw the remains of their feast, the wrappings, out of the shell as they journey along. There are special openings in the sides of the shell which they can open and shut for this purpose. And since those bits and pieces don’t rot down, there they stay, all along the sides of those routes across the countryside; cans, plastic and glass bottles, cardboard and plastic cups, plastic sandwich wrappers, sweet wrappers, cigarette packets, and so on.

And that is why I have to live in the middle of a rubbish heap. And I find it very depressing indeed.
This is the result of one litter pick on one day along a short stretch of the A25 in Surrey. 
See what Zilch are doing at http://www.facebook.com/ZilchUK?fref=ts 

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