August 12, 2012 | Back to: News

My Turn: Why are people so careless?

TAHOE VISTA, Calif. — This has bugged me for a long time, the carelessness of people who toss out or leave behind their garbage. Maybe I am an old fuddy-duddy but I taught my children good manners and respect for their environment and am shocked what I see on my rides, on my walks on the beaches and in the woods.

Tahoe is my playground, it is my living room, it is my home. So, why do so many people feel that they can befoul this beautiful environment and leave their garbage on the beaches, on the trails and on the side of the road? You can bring it with you, you can take it out, at least as far as the next garbage can and deposit your leftovers there. A full plastic water bottle is much heavier than an empty one.

If I had magic powers I would toss the broken glass beer bottles right back into the tossers’ lap with equal force as it was thrown out. Glass on the side of the road can be deadly to a multitude of cyclists — my friends and I are just a small portion of them. I even noticed a discarded bicycle tube along Martis Valley, and this one hit hard, because I am an avid road biker. Most of us have carried our punctured tubes home because it never occurred to us to just leave them behind for somebody else to pick up.

I saw a thrown out dirty diaper as I biked up Highway 267. I am saddened to think how this child will grow up without respect for its own environment and for its own and other people’s properties. Children learn my example more so than mere words. Also a discarded dirty diaper in the greenery at Safeway with the garbage can not ten feet away. This leaves me speechless.

Please tell me what other mammal fouls its own nest?

Our National Parks, our Wilderness Areas, are a small piece of America that you co-own, so why leave your garbage behind? Even a small shiny wrapper from a power bar stands out like a sore thumb.

Public restrooms — please, other people would like to use those same facilities. That’s why they are called “public,” and they are there for your and my convenience. I am sure a lot of us can relate to walking into an absolutely gross facility. It’s not difficult to clean up after yourself and keep it neat for the next person who will appreciate the thoughtfulness.

Cleanliness is learned in the home from early childhood on; the Scouting Movement and Boys and Girls Clubs do a great job reinforcing it. It’s just plain good manners. We cannot ask our schools and teachers to step in and teach it — they have enough on their plates

Tahoe is our playground so please keep it neat so everybody can enjoy this beautiful environment. And remember it’s home to a lot of people year-round, rich, poor, and in between — the whole spectrum of a diverse population. It is my home.

Helga Sable is a Tahoe Vista resident.

Helga Sable
Special to the Sun

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Aug 12, 2012 04:02PM Published Aug 12, 2012 04:01PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.