Tom Stock

Poet, Essayist, Photographer, Naturalist

A long Island Sierra Club Service Project – Litter

Diane Ives invited me to help her pick up litter along the edge of a parking lot fence at the Copaigue LIRR station.

It’s pretty easy to dump garbage here because the location doesn’t have security cameras and the fence makes it easy to go undetected. Commuters are on the go to the extent that come of them eat meals in their car. Take out meals means junk in station cars. Some are careful and clean out the accumulation of paper and Styrofoam cups, foil wrap, paper plates, plastic and aluminum cans, straws, cigarette packs, candy wrappers, glass bottles, on and on and on. Dining room cars don’t have waiters to clear the table. It is too easy to just open the door, shuffle the garbage out and let the wind carry to the chain link fence.

Diane and I worked together for over an hour filling three plastic bags. It was fun. We enjoyed looking back to see the litter free stretch. There’s more to do. I took before and after pictures.

I can’t think of a single thing that could be done to stop littering. After all, we do have lots of other more serious problems. I see litter as an attitude, that being selfish, irresponsible, with little concern for others. Every piece of litter diminishes beauty. One piece of litter is a sign to people that, “Hey, why not, others are doing it.”

This no man’s land requires creative thinking and I think I have a solution. Flowers. Yes, FLOWERS TO FIGHT LITTER . I propose an experiment. Invite Sierra club members to start hearty annual flowers at home. Till and weed, and fertilize with organic mulch and plant seedlings along the fence. There is a foot of space between fence and curb. The experiment will last 2 months for an assessment. We will compare a stretch that has no flowers with a stretch the same length. We will count each piece of litter in both experimental plots and compare. My hypotheses? My bet is that there’ll be less litter on the flower stretch. I am a retired science teacher. This experiment interests me because science seeks truth and since I retired, I enjoy doing science experiments (without the internet!)

I got some exercise and the satisfaction that we did something for the citizens of Copaigue. It would be nice to involve students and other service organizations to help. I am proud to be a Long Island Sierra Club Member. I joined because I want to help. I helped.

I am Tom Stock, Long Island Sierra Club member # 27403034

Tom Stock

Tom Stock has been involved in the Long Island environmental and outdoor education community for decades.

He has published two books; THE NISSEQUOGUE RIVER: A JOURNEY and HIDDEN AGENDA; A POETRY JOURNEY.He has also published many essays and poems in such journals as the Long Island Forum and The Long Islander.

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1 Comment

  1. Sue Avery

    Tom,

    I like your idea. How about starting with native plants? They are hardy and easy to propagate.

    Sue

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