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The Psychology Of Littering

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Stringbanger, Sep 30, 2020.

  1. Fuelish

    Fuelish Tele-Meister

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    If trash is near my parking space, I’ll pick it up with an inverted plastic bag, hand sanitize, and properly dispose of ASAP. When we used to go camping, made an effort to haul out more trash than we generated. Even on the banks of the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon (8 day/7night white water rafting trip) there was trash either washed down from up river or left behind by a previous expedition...it’s a shame, too many humans have no respect for the environment. That GC trip was amazing...and our outfitters allowed liquor if you brought it in a plastic bottle...I found at least 2 empty whiskey glass bottles on the beach :( Amazing trip, nonetheless, 8 days running the river, 7 nights camping on the sandy/rocky banks, and.....drum roll, please... I met my now wife hiking down Bright Angel Trail to begin the trip...and she puts up with my crap still , 31 years later ;) <3
     
  2. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I don’t see littering in urban, suburban, country, wilderness, or desert locations as anything different from the littering you opened with?

    As far as otter hound comparing city vs country standards of throwing garbage on the ground to an Arab touching food with their wiping hand or cultures that don’t eat pork?
    Yeah sorta but no.

    Maybe throwing garbage on public property is different from throwing it in “my yard” since the litterbug may feel that their taxes pay for the pickup of their fast food packaging.

    I was looking hard at the psychology of littering and shared what I thought was very on topic!
    I think also that the former good old days of returnable bottles that got washed and refilled had few throwing them out of moving cars.
    After no deposit no return it seems like culture got hooked on THINKING as if garbage was how we marked our territory or exercised our civil rights?

    I do agree that it’s regionally influenced, and culture has better and worse examples depending on locale.

    As far as mowing town property leading to eventually owning it?
    My house lot has a strip f grass the town bought in the ‘70s, making the lot 12 feet smaller. I cut that grass and I doubt they will be giving it back!
    Be nice though, I could add a porch!
     
  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    As a kid I used to walk the beach by my house carrying a net bag I’d fill with no deposit bottles and broken glass, dump the trash in a can at the other end of the beach, then fill the bag with flounder or clams on the way home.

    One of the summers of no deposit bottles my feet got so many bad cuts from broken glass hidden in the beach sand that I literally almost couldn't walk for a couple of weeks with all the bandages. Kids can hop a mile or two on one foot but you gotta have at least one good one.

    Good thing most bottles are plastic now, and no booze is allowed on the beach.
    Not that my expectations of the average human are terribly high.
    Just riffing with the topic.
     
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  4. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    since I spend a good bit of time on that stretch, I think it will become my lawn... and I'll tend it like my lawn, I think once we 'blow it out' once, then I just have to maintain it.
     
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  5. mad dog

    mad dog Friend of Leo's

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    Where I live in NJ, litter everywhere. Many other places - rural VT for example - very little. More than once while driving a motorcycle, I've been able to observe littering close up. The guy who emptied his car ashtray out the window on the highway, with me right behind, covered in butts and ashes. Or the time a lady nailed me by tossing a full cup of softdrink out the moon roof ... right onto my helmet.
     
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  6. Wallo Tweed

    Wallo Tweed Friend of Leo's

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    We're in farm country on a narrow two lane road, that is on a short cut between two population centers, about 50 miles apart. So we have a lot of traffic during morning and evening commuting time, but mainly farm equipment during the day time. When we moved here 30 years ago, we would clean about a mile of roadway every earth day. Then when litter got worse, we cleaned twice a year, and lately 3 times per year.

    Not long ago, a man in the area retired and started walking 5 miles per day. He passes our place 2 or 3 times per week, and always carries a litter bag with him. One day I talked with him and invited him to stuff his bags under the door of a shed near the road, and I would put them in our garbage. Every week he puts about a 10 gallon bags worth of garbage in that shed.

    I saw him a few weeks ago, and thanked him for his efforts. He said that he thought it was like taking drug dealers off the streets, in that the next day there is another drug dealer to replace the one from the day before.

    Good on you for taking that on.
     
  7. Grant Austin

    Grant Austin Tele-Meister

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    Those meandering, nearly incomprehensible posts are the only reason I keep reading this thread.

    It's like e.e. cummings had a lobotomy and then signed up for a guitar forum.
     
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  8. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I stopped smoking long ago, but before I did I made it a practice to squeeze whatever tobacco was left in a snuffed butt out the window, then I'd keep the butt in my car's litter bag until I got home. My car surely still stunk from my smoking in it, but at least there wasn't an ashtray full of stinky butts in it.

    When I smoked outside my car--I didn't smoke inside the house either--I did the same thing, and kept the butt in my pocket or my hand until I came to a garbage can. Do you know what the half-life of a cigarette butt is?
     
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  9. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Attempting to chronicle one facet of the shifting psychology of culture is interesting.
    In the '70s I went to an alternative school "for environmental studies".
    Prior to that I became an "environmentalist" basically on my own, probably before it really became a thing in pop culture, but it's hard to say exactly when "being an environmentalist" infected a visible portion of culture.
    My personal start in this came as a result of my observing the wild bird pop suddenly just go missing from one year to the next.
    I asked adults about it and got that it was DDT, but didn't get a satisfactory explanation of why.

    I think though that DDT really began the epidemic of awareness around environmental issues, and littering became emblematic in that discussion, with Earth day clean up projects etc.
    The Native American" AKA Indian shedding a tear was obviously about more than trash tossed on the ground, but us civilians could then have some power and responsibility in our world that was largely out of our personal control.

    Interestingly we also soon got things like seat belts and helmet laws, smog stuff killing our personal transportation performance, confusion over anti war being anti soldier, and a pop culture pop music sort of war on adulting, a war between youth and the aged, or between the cool and the uncool.
    We might say it was boomers that started that war, but it was also older music and entertainment execs that saw a market for kids with jobs paying for music and youth products.
    That part I'm not really sure about so I'm not trying to identify boomers or any particular age group, plus culture is all of us, and if there is a movement by one segment of the population, the rest can be looked at for their part in creating a need for change.

    I'm not disputing your suggestion that "littering in the years prior to 1971 was unreal" at all, though Maine has always been a little different from the rest of the US, we just do our different thing more quietly than Texas or California.

    Between the Depression and the Vietnam war, the US kind of exploded with growth and industry. We got the news that white bread was pure and superior, a lie foisted on "us" by industrial food moguls who discovered that in the national zeal for progress, they could convince consumers of virtually anything with a good ad campaign.
    Along with removing nutrition, industry began adding poison to our food water and air.

    Then the war between the watchers and the propagandists began, and culture started to revolt without really knowing who to target.
    Throwing trash on the roadside seems to be related to a triumphant unwillingness to follow the rules. Or unwillingness to follow those who were calling foul on the "rulers".
    I mentioned the popular anti environmentalist movement that started with the unfortunate hippy association with dirty commie pinko etc. The split that grew out of that movement seems very different from the allied state of post WWII America, when we had been sort of brought together by a common enemy, and felt that we were great in our common triumph over that enemy.
    The next two wars (Vietnam and the cold war) though saw that sort of allied state of us dissolve, as the new enemy was less clear, and the rhetoric was very shaky.

    I didn't see the '50s but have the sense that we were generally less divided and more allied as a country.
    That all fell apart pretty quickly, and the idea of protecting the environment from industry saw many putting their collective foot down against the novel idea that humanity had a responsibility to care for the Earth.
    I suppose the littering prior to the later '60s counter culture was maybe related to the idea that nature was a self cleaning oven, boundless in its ability to support and clean up after humanity, the way wildlife lives and dies as a natural cycle, with no need for an agency to manage those cycles.
    Humanity had bigger ideas and did not have the forethought to consider the repercussions of our greed and ambition.

    Seems we still lack the forethought to consider the repercussions of our greed and ambition.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2020
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  10. Tele-beeb

    Tele-beeb Friend of Leo's

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    Not sure of an accurate half-life... but, I’d say somewhere between styrofoam and those pull-tabs from the 60’s and 70’s.
     
  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I forgot the additional campaign by industry to get us to dispose of products and buy new more often.
    Along with formerly life time products like refrigerators and stoves etc becoming disposables, we used to buy prepared foods on or in reusable containers, where plates ans silverware and even napkins were washed and reused.
    Even soda bottles were washed, filled and sold again.
    Street foods came in a napkin or maybe wax paper.

    There was a movement in industry, probably more marketing and executive driven than tech and point of sale driven, to supply more disposables and get consumers used to throwing away what we bought ASAP.

    I can't say there was a connection between the wish of product manufacturers to have us buy new more often, and food service packaging including so much disposable packaging, but overall the amount of trash consumers produced went way up as industry realized there was more profit in making stuff not last as long, then convincing us we should want a new refrigerator because of styles and colors etc.
    In there we saw Detroit make a large change after 1957 production that was more life time quality, to thinner body steel and more of a combo of disposable quality, combined with a marketed ideal/ need to buy the next latest thing.
    The '57 to '58 change was also tied to a forced move away from the performance & racing orientation of cars, but it was more than that and we (maybe we of the antique auto hot rodding community) see it in the drop in build quality as well.

    Some time in that industrial reevaluation we saw light bulbs get engineered to burn out ASAP, where it was easy to manufacture bulbs that lasted for years, and making them have shorter life spans was not about any difficulty producing longer lasting products.

    We know about the planned obsolescence concept, but I've long thought that was a funny presentation of that idea back when products didn't become obsolete as much as they just stopped working.
    You can still use a 1950sor 1960s car, refrigerator, toaster, table saw, etc, and many of those things even use the same basic tech now as back then.
    The real planned obsolescence didn't really arrive until higher tech products.

    But presenting the idea of obsolescence suggested we got newer better higher tech for our loss of investment, when a new refrigerator didn't last as long as the one in Grandmas house.
    Instead though, it seems like products were getting engineered to die young, as opposed to become obsolete.

    One way or another, WWII consumers were I think more fond of the ideal of American build quality lasting a lifetime.
    The next generations of consumers were sold the idea that life only got better if we disposed of our home appliances and cars every five years.

    Disposable products at every level from cars to burger wrappers; boosted wall street and industry.
     
  12. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    man, that is an awesome post. our place is right where the ag fields begin and it is 4 miles to the 101 on ramp. It is almost exactly as you describe.. and while I'm not fully retired, I'm kinda the guy you describe. I think I may start taking a bag with me... that is genius. Our dump is super cheap, so, I'll just stack the bags til I get a load. I just like things to look nice.
     
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  13. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    band name alert
     
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  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    AKA old guys with bad backs & good credit...
     
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  15. Gevalt

    Gevalt TDPRI Member

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    Long time ago, I tolerated littering from a young woman driving me home. She stuffed a large chip bag out an inch of her window while driving. I stayed quiet and lost my virginity to her the next night. I stand by my actions.
     
  16. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    I thought they were getting rid of plastic bags with paper. Now they are back. Think some places ban them
     
  17. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    God Bless him.

    Yeah, I have a neighbor about four miles to the east of me, up there in the Mountains, and he's out there about once a week. He's in his mid 60s, and he's full of enthusiasm for keeping the road nice. My sense is, since he's been active (7 years?) the littering has subsided. People see him, decide they like him, and decide he's a good guy and they want him to succeed. There's a "Recycling Center" not far from his place, and it is easier now than it used to be to just dispose of things properly. Except super large things like mattresses and freezers, which they will not accept there. So, that's our last problem. Getting together and removing these large objects, that have been dumped from the pavement and cascade down the grade.
     
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