Let’s support genuine efforts for the environment
I received another threatening letter, but this time over a turtle.
I’m beginning to concede that we’re not the same country anymore. Some sort of dark force has been unleashed, and if someone doesn’t agree with you, there’s no longer any kind of debate or rebuttal, it’s just full out assault.
I know I’m putting my neck out there, literally, in this new age of hate, but I’m using my American right to express my opinion. This means that if someone doesn’t share my thoughts, they have the same right to express theirs. It’s what makes America, America.
Those who go around the system and can’t put their name in the public eye, are simply cowards. I welcome other voices and opinions like we all should. But we’re seeing an almost domestic terrorist-like uprising.
So back to the turtle. I used the metaphor of the turtle with the straw in the nose as an example of how easy people can be manipulated. I had nothing against the poor little guy. But once again, the focus is on the wrong target.
A couple years ago I was down in Honduras and walked out on the beach. I stood stunned looking in both directions. This was a tourist town of sorts. Vendors on the makeshift boardwalk, bars and restaurants. But the beach, though people were lying around, was covered in garbage. I mean everything you can imagine littered the sand as far as you can see. No one paid the litter any attention, people stepped over and around it, and no effort was made to clean any of it. It was apparently very normal and accepted.
On another trip to Costa Rica, I saw a man on the beach every morning cleaning turtle eggs he harvested each night. I was surprised, and I’ll admit, it really nagged me that dozens upon dozens of eggs were taken and sold every day, adding up to thousands over the year.
I inquired if it was legal and told it was not, yet that man was there every day during the week of my visit washing his eggs, readying them for sale. Personally, I think that’s one of the most egregious things these harmless gracious creatures were enduring because it almost assured their extinction. And I’m not saying that to appease some crazy person. I really care.
So compare the above examples, which are only two out of likely thousands of stories, to our own local beaches. Though we have trash, and today we have more face masks than anything being tossed down, we still keep our beaches relatively clean, but that’s not where the problem is.
You take a little hike inland these days, and you’ll discover more filth and trash than a dozen Marborg trucks can haul away. That’s where your straws, needles, poop and urine and garbage along with rat feces are preparing to flow into the ocean.
Our local environmentalists recently celebrated Earth Day, but did anyone see them address how the Earth is being destroyed by our inability to manage one of the worst biohazards of our time: the homeless crisis? Did any of them march through the camps and clean up what eventually will cause a thousand times more harm than the discovery of a single turtle with a straw in its nose?
Three years ago, when this homeless disaster was really beginning to fester, San Francisco removed 53,000 pounds and just under 4,000 needles from six camps alone. Last October, Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol only allowed a camp in Berkeley to be partially cleaned up. That still amounted to 35 tons, not pounds, to be removed. And the camp was allowed to remain there.
Not to be outdone, in 2018, Orange County Public Works removed 404 tons of debris from a camp of more than 700 people! It included nearly 14,000 needles and more than 5,000 pounds of fecal matter.
In Seattle — next to Portland being the most liberal in how people deal with their cities — a volunteer group is criticized for cleaning up trash in homeless camps. Andrea Suarez formed the group, seeing her city being destroyed with graffiti, garbage and condemned buildings. Her actions are another example that no good deed goes unpunished.
So even for those who actually take action and care, they’re chastised for trying. And they’re doing it out of the kindness of their hearts and without any taxpayer help.
I’m still blown away by how bad Santa Barbara and Goleta got. The local news made the point that this is the first thing tourists see when they visit Santa Barbara. What a greeting. Come to paradise and smell the garbage and get yelled at on the street while you shop.
I’m not saying I have the solution. Politicians continue with their meetings and say they need more money to fix things, but I am saying to those who prance around how much they care about the environment going after harmless fracking, for example, because they just hate the idea of oil, don’t preach to me about turtles or if I care or not.
The almighty do-gooders talk a good game, but you don’t see them doing anything about it. I’ve said it many times: There needs to be a stronger word than hypocrisy, because it doesn’t do justice to all those who tell us what to do but fail on a massive scale to do anything about it themselves.
The author lives in Solvang.