This Is OURS
Last night on the bike path I passed a well-dressed citizen, walking along with a bottle of water. I was stunned to see him finish his water and hurl the bottle into the woods.
I stopped and said, “Hey, please don’t do that.”
He looked at me with complete surprise and said, “what?” as if he didn’t understand what ‘that’ was. His conception of the world seemed to be that there was two kinds of stuff… his and not-his. The park wasn’t his, so it was just fine to throw trash, in fact, why not?
The challenge we have in the connection economy, in a world built on ever more shared resources and public digital spaces is that some people persist in acting like it belongs to someone else. When they spit in the pool or troll anonymously, when they spam or break things, it’s as if they’re doing it to someone else, or to the man.
Too often, we accept this vandalism as if it’s a law of nature, like dealing with the termites that will inevitably chew exposed wood on a house’s foundation. It doesn’t have to be this way. Over and over, we see that tribes and communities and organizations are able to teach people that this is ours, that it’s worth taking care of and most of all, that people like us care for things like this.
Seth Godin, whom I love, and also has the audacity to blog EVERY DAY, wrote this today, and as usual he hit the nail on the head about what I was sitting and stewing about this morning.
He was articulate.
I’m REALLY hoping this doesn’t turn into a rant.
I wrote yesterday, in a humorous way, about someone in the neighborhood choosing to put out rodent poison, and the consequences. By this morning I was finding it as funny as a root canal.
I get it – I REALLY do. But here’s the deal.
The Eco system in our neighborhood is out of balance.
Since California has been suffering through its worst drought ever, the wildlife in the hills above our neighborhood has taken to the streets. The coyotes have come down and have been feasting on our free range cats. I lost my two Siamese in the space of a week a few years back.
About a month ago a couple of people in the hood pulled out sixty years worth of mature trees along with tons of ivy. Apparently the ivy had provided a lovely home for these rodents, and has for the sixty years it’s been there.
They now find themselves on the move.
Since the coyotes have finished off most of the neighborhood cats that were keeping the rodents in check, their population has exploded this summer and we’ve seen and heard them in our Bougainvillea.
They’re not near the house, but the yuck factor in the evenings when you can hear and catch a glimpse of them is high.
Like I said – I get it.
We have contacted pest control who basically will come out and poison them. The other options are just as heinous; sticky tape that traps them (they either stay stuck and starve or you have to kill them; or traps, which often aren’t a quick kill.
I hate killing anything. I carry spiders outside.
Anyway, they’re suffering.
Again, I am not a lover of rats and when they’ve gotten into the house we’ve resorted to killing them with a trap that electrocutes them instantly. We took the time to research our decision.
Still awful, but fast.
They never know what hits them and I’m okay with that if they’re eating my insulation and wiring and making a nest in my kitchen towel drawer, and in fifteen years we’ve had to kill maybe six. Previous to my cats dying, they did the dirty work for us.
Here’s the parallel with Seth’s tale:
When I do that, it only affects ME and The RAT.
Whoever poisoned the rodents, took the easiest, cheapest, way AND they have started a chain reaction of collateral damage that will push the neighborhood that much further out of balance.
Not to mention the now FOUR suffering mice that we’ve found in our yard the last 24 hrs and have had to put out of their misery. They were dying a long, drawn out death, while my puppy played with them, and contemplated eating them.
We have owls and hawks who will eat the poisoned rats, so will the few feral cats that are left, and a couple of dogs that don’t know better. The squirrels and possums and raccoons will eat the poison and die horrible deaths too.
That poison doesn’t discriminate, and the wildlife is hungry this long, hot summer.
All because someone didn’t care about anyone or ANYTHING else.
They wanted the rodents to go away. Just like that guy didn’t want to carry around an empty plastic bottle.
I get it. I really do.
What I’m getting at is this: there are those of us that give careful consideration to others and the affect our actions will have on those around us. It is more than just MY rodent problem, it is OURS. Your decision has now affected the neighborhood, everyone’s pets, the wildlife and general peace of mind.
Waking up to suffering animals and having to be hyper vigilant with my dogs is a pain in the ass.
Please, please, please my darling people, don’t throw your plastic bottle in the woods and don’t throw poison down and leave a mess for everyone else to clean up.
Be concious. Look around.
It screws up the balance.
It’s OURS not just yours.
I ranted huh? I’m Sorry……Thanks for indulging me.