Shopping carts in the canal. Yes, shopping carts.
My 22-year-old son, an army veteran, took it upon himself to clean up the canal in downtown Middlesboro. He loves nature, especially fish. He spent a lot of time at the canal looking at the fish and the ducks. They are beautiful. The mallard ducks that swim there are works of art! As he was looking at the wildlife, though, its beauty was diminished by the trash that gets thrown into and around the canal. So, he started cleaning it up.
He pulled shopping carts out of the canal regularly. I don’t know how Kroger and Walmart can stay in business with the number of carts that get tossed into the water. He pulled out a roll of barbed wire that the trash men won’t pick up and is now sitting in my backyard. In addition there were the more common items like pop and beer cans, plastic bags, candy wrappers…the list is endless; even car tires. Last week I walked along the trail next to the canal and found a Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie box (unfortunately it was empty, I love them).
It’s not just the canal, either; people throw trash out their car windows pretty regularly where I live, especially cigarette butts. Why; why do people think it’s OK to throw cigarette butts on the ground for someone else to pick up?! It’s tempting to follow a car whose driver has thrown a cigarette butt on the ground and return it, and hundreds more, to their yard. That’s a little extreme, I know, but still!
God tells us in Genesis that we are the keepers of this world. When He placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, He put them in charge of it. This world is our responsibility. God created it for us and wants us to use its resources for our benefit. But, I think it upsets Him when we trash it. There are certainly many things which offend God that have a more devastating impact on the world but recklessly trashing His creation is offensive to Him, I’m sure.
It certainly makes me mad. The canal is a beautiful place and is a blessing to all who walk its paths and enjoy the wildlife. Let’s not ruin it by carelessly tossing our garbage into and around it.
Rob Morton is minister of First Christian Church Middlesboro. Contact him at [email protected]