To the Editor:
Earth Day came and went in Martha’s Vineyard much as it has elsewhere year after year, with local calls to action, including a beach day trash pickup, which my sweetheart and life companion and I dutifully and enthusiastically participated in, one day early due to our plans to leave the Island for the weekend. He and his family had done this eight or nine times before, but for me, it was my first year here as well as my first year doing pickup.
After a full day of carpentry for him and homemaking for me, we loaded up the pickup with two trash cans and began our drive down Herring Creek, off of Daggett Avenue in Tisbury. It started slowly … proudly … picking up one bottle here and another there, until half an hour later our cans were halfway full, and my mood, in particular, had changed: I was distressed. After we found at least two buried bags of trash that were no longer able to be excavated due to the fact that they’d grown into the ground, and considering that roughly 90 percent of our findings were alcoholic beverage containers, my love of man was beginning to suffer.
I wrote this as much to air my thoughts on the subject as to put out a sincere request for help. Though I’m happy to help clean up my own backyard one measly day a year, maybe there’s more to do. Perhaps signs that said $100 fine for littering? Or reminding people that drinking and driving is illegal? I don’t know the answer, but I’m reminded of the words of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”