We usually take walks in the Turbary Common, which is a tiny patch of local nature reserve in the midst of industrial and residential areas of Bournemouth, UK. We are also members of the Heathwatch Team, aiming to preserve these handful of heathland remnants for the native animals and plants, to preserve them for future generations. We have this really small, but wonderful site of nature in the neighbourhood of an industrial complex on one side and residential suburbs on the other. People cut across as they commute to work or simply wind off after a long work day here. It's no problem as long as you respect the inhabitants, creatures of nature, who are forced to live on smaller and smaller patch of a land as over-civilized humans grab more and more land of their habitat from them.
Unfortunately, however, not everybody shares this respect and not everybody is "civilized" in a more human sense of the word.
These pictures represent what we find from time to time here on the site.
The Heathwatch Team regularly organizes litter picks and we locals as well many times volunteer to keep our neighbourhood clean and tidy, fetch some rubbish bags and pairs of gardening gloves and pick up the traces of civilization left behind by them people who think they have contributed enough to society when they have paid their Council Taxes.
Probably they think like, well, I've paid them litter pickers and other lousy creatures as well, so I can leave my shithe wherever I want to.
They don't know that the local council does not give a damn about it and that the hands who pick up their waste are not paid for this effort by anybody.
According to new plans, some signs will be put up at the main entrances to the site, asking visitors not to litter, telling them that it's illegal to do so and that they can face fines if they still don't comply, and more bins are going to be provided.
I had two thoughts that have occurred to me.
First of all, why should anybody be given signs about such a basic thing we must have learnt when started walking. It should come naturally from everybody to take care of our surroundings.
It's a deeper issue than what it seems to be at face value, because its roots lie much deeper. It's a sociological problem, a cultural decline, and what we see is only the top of an iceberg.
Secondly, I remember signs on buses and coaches of another country, where the drivers also intended to keep their vehicles clean.
I remember two signs, perhaps there were more, but these two were the best ones, as they approached the problem with a sense of humour.
One went like:
"Intelligent people never litter.
For the rest: it's restricted!"
Anybody who read it, was smiling. Everybody wanted to be considered intelligent, so nobody broke the rule. Psychology worked.
Another went like:
"Our floor is on diet, our bins are starving! Please don't waste it's food where it does not belong!"
Again, people were smiling, and they complied. It's just this easy. Perhaps these tricks might work in the Common, too. At least I hope.
But still I don't understand why it can't come natural of people to THINK...