I scampered away from the carnage. But as appalled as I was, I did not write an angry letter to the Transit Authority, I did not call the Mayor's office or alert my congressman. I just accepted this horror and remembered to avoid the far end of the station.
Similarly, in the 60's, factories (enabled by loop holes in the law) were seemingly unchecked as their waste fouled our air and water.
|IT WASN'T SO LONG AGO THAT ELIZABETH NEW JERSEY LOOKED LIKE THIS AND STUNK WORSE.|
Another major contributor that spewed poisonous emissions into our air was leaded gasoline and poor auto exhaust systems. I was not blind to these problems but I never thought to complain.
|IT IS NOT AN URBAN LEGEND...THE CHICAGO RIVER INDEED CAUGHT FIRE. IN THE LATE 60's, FUELED BY THICK, OILY, INDUSTRIAL SLUDGE, THE CUYAHOGA AND BUFFALO RIVERS ALSO CAUGHT FIRE.|
|INTO THE 1970's, STORE'S PAID FOR RETURN BOTTLES. SOME PLACES GAVE UP VALUABLE STORAGE SPACE TO ACCOMMODATE THE CRATES. OTHER STORES TOOK THE ADDED PRECAUTION OF KEEPING THE EMPTIES UNDER LOCK AND KEY, TO PREVENT THEFT.|
This enterprising lad noticed that one state paid a dime more than the other for deposit bottles. So he used his dad's clout to borrow a semi once a week and to have his father's clients, (in the cheap deposit state's stores, bars etc) exclusively sell their clutter of bottles to him. Then he crossed into the more expensive state and cashed them in for over a thousand dollars profit.
I couldn't help but admire the guy. After all, until that gimmick dried up, he was working one day a week and making fifty grand...clear while indirectly forwarding the cause of a clean environment.
Smokers create a different problem. They hate being singled out as societal pariahs due to the real and unfortunate effects of second hand smoke. Common sense would lead us to believe that these individuals, (often our family, friends and coworkers) would bend over backwards to avoid being further targeted because of littering.
|SOMETIMES I THINK SMOKERS ARE SO DELUSIONAL THAT THEY THINK THEY ARE ENTITLED TO "MARK THEIR TERRITORY." DURING MY THREE TIMES A WEEK POWER WALK, I CAN'T GO FAR WITHOUT BEING INSULTED BY TONS OF TOBACCO RELATED TRASH.|
In a related case, in 1976, near Roseburg Oregon, I saw another even worse side-effect of smoking. While driving through a huge burnt out forest, I saw an over-sized sign that read; A CARELESS SMOKER CAUSED THIS FOREST FIRE.
|SMOKERS WERE IDENTIFIED AS THE CULPRITS AS FAR BACK AS THE 1920's.|
|IN 1925, THE FIRST PARK RANGER FIRE TRUCK, (YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK).|
Before I moved to Las Vegas, (1978), there was a notorious landfill, in Staten Island's Arthur Kill section. For years, the garbage stench was so intense that even on a winter day with the car windows closed, the distant noxious odor was nauseating. It was so bad that when I was in the nearby shopping mall, there was a stinky, unhealthy, gray smog cloud...inside the building.
A few days ago, this subject of ecology came to mind while channel surfing. That's when I came across director John Ford's 1948 classic, "FORT APACHE." This classic movie was the first of his cavalry trilogy that also included, 1949's "SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON" AND 1950's, "RIO GRANDE."
|IN ADDITION TO ITS HEADLINERS, HENRY FONDA (left) AND JOHN WAYNE (right), "FORT APACHE" FEATURED SHIRLEY TEMPLE, VICTOR McLAGLEN AND WARD BOND.|
Ford goes out of his way to glorify as many breath-taking angles as possible.
|NO SINGLE PHOTO CAN CAPTURE THE TOTAL GRANDEUR OF MONUMENT VALLEY. IT REMAINS ON MY BUCKET LIST BECAUSE IT KILLS ME THAT I HAD SEVERAL OPPORTUNITIES (EVEN AS RECENTLY AS 2009) TO GO BUT NEVER MADE IT.|
In Fort Apache, it's an incredible paradox that Ford takes us on the awe inspiring photo safari only to let us down. This part of the plot includes John Wayne's character and Pedro Armendariz (as Sergeant Beaufort) trekking far into the wilderness to meet the great Apache Chief, Cochise, to negotiate a truce. The long journey doubles as a grand photo shoot of the Four Corners region. This tribute is climaxed when the two stop to admire, "HORSESHOE BEND."
In September 1983, (wow, thirty years ago) my wife Sue and I drove from Las Vegas to Yosemite National Park. We entered from the Nevada side. From that entrance, it's a seventy mile drive, seemingly straight up! The twisting mountainside road makes you gasp in amazement as each curve reveals more stunning scenery. Just when you think that you couldn't possibly see anything more dazzling, you enter the Shangri-la known as Yosemite Valley.
|DON'T LET ME GET IN THE WAY OF TRUE BEAUTY! THAT ROCKY CRAG ON THE LEFT IS THE SIGNATURE ATTRACTION OF THE PARK; EL CAPITAN. ON THE RIGHT IS THE PICTURESQUE, BRIDALVEIL WATERFALL.|
|AT THE HALF DOME OBSERVATION DECK, I FELT LIKE I WAS ON TOP OF THE WORLD, (HALF DOME NOT PICTURED).|
We spent three days in Yosemite and felt like we should have stayed there a month. It's inconceivable that today, we still have to explain the necessity of preserving these riches, by maintaining our planet.
|IN THE MARIPOSA GROVES, YOU CAN WALK THROUGH THE GIANT SEQUOIA FOREST. THE PARK RANGERS ARE QUICK TO STOP PEOPLE (ME) FROM TRYING TO TAKE THE COLOSSAL ACORNS HOME AS SOUVENIRS.|
At Yosemite's main concession stand, sequestered away from the normal trashcans, I saw separate bins for various recyclables, (I soon learned that it was an early experiment to see if the public would enthusiastically participate). My first reaction was that it was absurd to think people would seek this place out, lug their crap beyond the convenience of regular garbage cans and then further waste time by categorizing something like bottles by the color of the glass. That meant that the "tree-huggers," expected the same folks who discarded bottles, cans etc...when they could've gotten paid for them...now expected them to go out of their way...for free...seemed ridiculous.
Happily, I was proven wrong. The recycling campaign has been accepted for a long time and I feel deep down that it serves a great purpose while reminding us of our responsibility to others and the earth.
|IF WOODSY OWL DOESN'T MOTIVATE YOU TO DO THE RIGHT THING, I'LL SIC SMOKY THE BEAR ON YOU...RIGHT AFTER HE WAKES UP FROM HIBERNATING.|
Since being in Eden-like Yosemite, I have done my best to avoid littering, conserve water and energy, maintain my car's clean emissions and recycle paper, plastic, metal and glass. I must confess that I don't actually "celebrate" Earth Day, (earlier this week April 22nd), but I feel good about my contribution to our precious environment and encourage others to do the same.
|EARTH DAY ORIGINATED IN 1970. TODAY, IT IS OBSERVED IN 192 COUNTRIES WITH COORDINATED EVENTS THAT SUPPORT ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.|