Today I want to take you on a journey. I want to take you away from that five-star resort you stay at, or that pristine beach you lay out on with the sand that feels like powdered sugar. I am going to take you to the parts of Florida that tourists, and even residents, have never seen. Let’s take a walk in the country where the sun hits the pavement hard and streets aren’t lined with street lights, but only a small glow from the moon provides just enough for you to see where your feet are going one step at a time. The birds are in abundance and gopher tortoises can be seen munching on grass or weeds. It’s a place where wildlife calls home.
As I take a walk feeling the summer sun hit my skin, I come across a feeling of peace mixed with injustice. Nature gives me adequate comfort that I can’t get from people, but I often am scared that these trails I walk on will soon be gone. As I listen to a woodpecker peck himself into a new home, I think to myself how lucky I am to experience, acknowledge, and appreciate all that is around me. All of the great feelings of walking in this atmosphere slip away when I come across an illegal dumping site with about 30 tires that someone decided they were too busy, too lazy, or didn’t want to pay a disposal fee to dispose of them properly.
When I first came upon these tires, I was angered. I literally said to myself “Why would someone do this?” I really can’t think of any scenarios that this would be okay. Outside of town life, resorts, and fancy shopping centers filled with overpriced restaurant food, the average person doesn’t see the war on human destruction of land that is desperately needing our attention. Why do these tires pose such a large threat to our land and ourselves? Tires left lying on the ground can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, rats, and snakes after water accumulation inside the tire. They also contain toxic chemicals such as lead, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, butadiene (central nervous system damage, carcinogen), styrene (potential carcinogen), dioxins, and furans. All of these chemicals are especially toxic when set on fire (accidentally or arsenic) releasing the chemicals into our air and into our ground water.
My nice country walk in the summer sun turned into an angered one. I was desperate to find who trashed their tires. Were the tires dropped off by my neighbor or by a tire place here in town? I found myself obsessing over who would do this act just minutes from my house. I finally came to the conclusion that I will never know who did it. They will continue about on their daily lives, probably polluting more of the earth for their own convenience. I got online and searched ways to put these tires where they belong. I called my counties illegal dumping number that connects you with a way to report illegal dumping. It has been one week and I have yet to hear back from the county about the tires.
It’s hard to separate yourself from nature when you care so deeply about it. I can no longer just walk past trash along side of the road and I can no longer ignore illegal dumping sites like they don’t exist. If caught illegal dumping, you will face large fines and possibly jail time. I hope that in my future walks, I no longer have to see piles of trash alongside the road, deep into woods, or in rivers and ponds. If you spot illegal dumping, go to your counties website to report the exact location so it can be taken care of properly. Without proper laws set in place to prevent illegal dumping from happening, we will continue to see the effects of our environment decline. With regards for all wildlife and your health, please dump legally.
Nature does her best at trying to restore the damage she has, but she can only take so much. Because of our laziness and desrespect toward her, maybe she won’t stick around for too much longer. The enjoyment she brings to my life is something I can’t get from anywhere else. She gives me peace, teaches me how to combat fear, makes me tough, and gives me the quiet time I need to have with God and appreciate all of His beautiful creation. What does nature mean to you? Is it time you stepped out of your comfort zone to experience her full force? If so, it’s also time you started saving her.
“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe.” He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest-a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein.