Updated: Jan 23
We drove up a forest road and car-camped on a grassy pull-off a mile or so up the way. It was dark when we got there but we could see that the area was littered with trash, so much for a campsite with a pretty view.
When we got out of the car the next morning we saw the extent of the garbage. Bottles, candy wrappers, plastic food storage, and shotgun shells were spread around the site.
There was a garbage bag on a tree that looked like it was used as a trashcan but it was abandoned and the trash ended up all over the ground.
It wasn't our garbage, we were only passing through, only there to sleep and leave as soon as we could, but it didn't feel right to walk away like it wasn't our problem.
Because we care about the land we spend our time in, it was our problem and we felt inclined to clean up. So before we left for our hike we took 5 minutes to pick up the trash left on the forest floor. We left the area better off than when we arrived, it felt good to take care of the forest that provides the means to enjoy our adventures.
I hear a lot of people say things like, "I'm just one person, my actions won't affect ______." They operate with the misconception that their action (or lack of) won't make a difference in the grand scheme of things because they believe that their personal effort won't translate to systemic change.
If everyone took 5 minutes to pick up trash, figure out which items are recyclable, call out others when they litter or violate Leave No Trace, our small collective effort would make a HUGE impact.
Imagine a world where everyone believes their effort can make a difference, the world would be a better place.