No doubt most of you are familiar with the famous Texan saying, “Don’t Mess With Texas.” This is always perceived as a sort of tough-guy mantra, but it’s actually the slogan for the state’s anti-littering campaign. In other words, don’t make Texas a mess with your trash.
I’ve been thinking about this lately as I watch the driver ahead of me toss out a fast food bag from his car window, or see smokers flick their cigarettes onto the sidewalk. The other day I was strolling through a beautiful park, which was marred by errant gum wrappers and piles of trash left on benches.
Are people seriously too lazy to walk a few steps and use a trashcan? Do they think someone else will clean up after them? Do they not see how ugly they are making their surroundings—not to mention the damage down to the environment? Do they even care? I’ll never, ever understand.
I know people who will confront people they see littering. A friend of mine saw a man toss his soda can on the ground, so she picked it up and handed it to him, saying, “I think you must have dropped this by mistake.” Now, if the person is a jerk this could lead to a tense situation, but I appreciate her efforts. And the writer David Sedaris has even shared that he takes it upon himself to pick up litter near his England home because nobody else will do it and he can’t stand to see the area looking like a landfill.
A big part of civility is having respect for your environment and others. Think about that the next time you’re tempted to leave a wad of gum under your seat!