Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Thank you Paul Post for writing an article in the Saratogian about Farm Aid that opens with a paragraph about the garbage that was left by the concert’s attendees on Saturday evening. The article continues to relate the reactions of other people involved with the concert as well.  Their reactions were one of dismay.  This is not an attitude that is limited to SPAC, although you would hope that the Farm Aid concert-goers would demonstrate some awareness regarding litter and the earth.

Just because there are people paid to pick up after us at the concert, the ball game, the movie theater, does not entitle us to leave our trash behind.  It is a culture wide problem.  When our family leaves a stadium, concert or movie theater, we take our trash with us.  However, it is a taught habit.  My boys are tempted to leave it sometimes like most people around them or because the event allows it.  I let them know that our family is responsible for their own trash.

I have on a number of occasions made myself unpopular by making comments aloud like,”Who’s trash is this?”  or “Who left their wrapper behind?”  These questions have left my mouth many times on a Saturday morning at the rec soccer field ( near the casino) when a snack is served and a few wrappers are strewn about.  I have deepened my popularity by asking the enabling parents who stand up to pick it up, “Could you please let the kids pick up their own garbage? Thanks!”

My other unpopular MO is to say to someone who drops litter right in front on me, “Excuse me, I think you dropped something.”  I say it politely and usually witness an eye roll by the litterer but they do bend over and retrieve their garbage.

One time when I lived in NYC, my personal safety was threatened when I mentioned to someone that they dropped something.  I think I was in over my head because  this young woman was an uber professional litterer.  She was standing on a corner in the village with friends eating from her Chinese food container and when she decided she did want anymore and was done she simply dropped the half-full container on the sidewalk with her fork implanted in the container.  A garbage can was perhaps six feet away.  I was incredulous at her level of piggery, but somehow managed a calm tone with my formerly successful comment, “Excuse me, I think you dropped something.”  I didn’t fool her.  She knew what I meant.  She turned to me and snarled something about messing my face up.  I believe I made one more comment and we both let it go.

Did she pick up her Chinese food container?  Well, no but maybe I made her think for a few seconds or maybe I was simply annoying.

So - 
if you currently pick-up your own garbage when there are others paid to do so - Thanks!!

If you don’t currently pick-up your own garbage at the events described above, but want to start doing that - Terrific.

If you don’t currently pick-up your own garbage at these events and have no intention of changing your ways - all I can say is ,”Excuse me, I think you dropped something.”

Diane Lachtrupp Martinez

To read the Saratogian article in the Tuesday September 24th edition, go to www.saratogian.com