June 25, 2022

BattenTylerBattenTylerpromoBY TYLER BATTEN

Maybe you could help me solve a problem. Why would someone bring garbage into the forest and then throw it
to some inaccessible spot, off the trail?
Walking on top of Pinnacle Hill recently, through the forest, I came across a very well put sign. It read, “If you can bring it in, you can bring it out. Please take your garbage.”
I don’t think it’s unrealistic to refer to beer cans, chip bags and Tim Hortons’ cups as perennial objects in southern Ontario forests, perhaps any forests near consumers.
These objects are so commonplace that they may as well be classified under a new section of the Peterson field guide for amateur botanists. It’s no joke, garbage is so common that I bet you’d be more likely to find a double double cup before you found a daisy in the springtime.
These common spottings happen for two reasons. Firstly, because garbage lasts longer than vegetation and secondly, not many people are out there picking this stuff up.
Look at the shameful litterer who throws his garbage off the trail to some inaccessible place where even David Suzuki would shrug and say “too much work.”
Furthermore, why would someone even bring cans, cups or bags out there in the first place? Boredom, I imagine. If you’re really not into the whole walking through the forest thing you may as
well stay at home with a bag of Bear Grill’s flavoured Doritos watching reruns of Man vs. Wild. You’re not going to die of starvation on an inner-city, community
trail. I think I can understand the hiker who does end up out there with an empty can though. The can had a purpose for the hiker while they were gulping it down, but once emptied, the can became a nuisance.
Not because they’re carrying it but because it’s now empty and does nothing but occupy an otherwise useful hand. Before it was emptied though, it didn’tbother that person at all. If it did, we would find halffull cans at the mouth of every trail. Instead we find them tossed down banks, halfway in. I hate to talk recycling basics but with the amount of garbage in the forests I feel it warranted.
Eighteenth century moral philosopher Immanuel Kant once came up with an idea he called the categorical imperative. Applied to garbage and specifically to those who put it there, he would have asked, “If you can drop trash on the trail, can everyone drop trash on the trail?” Any reasonable creature would answer no to this ludicrous rhetoric. Even wild dogs know this — no doo-doo where you live, walk or eat. Is this why garbage is
thrown down banks, into gullies, thorn bushes and other extremely hard-to-get-to spots?
If you ever find yourself in this extremely agonizing situation (holding an empty can,) I would prefer you just drop the garbage in the middle of the trail, where the next guy can pick it up easily. Liberate your hands and continue on with your survival enactment, preferably right back home.