This is where I start.
Morning walk with dog we headed across the downtown city street to the park and the little piece of the wild I enjoy keeping clean from litter and sharing with. Litter was everywhere in the little ravine and in the small parkette across the side street as well.
The homeless man that lives near the little ravine was nowhere to be seen. After some picking up of litter, a hand appeared out of the blue tarp. “What are you doing” a male voice inquired.
I responded, “I am cleaning up our house, Earth. It looks like you may need some help here”. The ground around his camp site was littered with dozens of gatorade bottles, empty food containers, some holding food that had frozen with the temperature over the past few days. It was obvious the litter and waste was weeks old.
I had met a homeless woman in the park while walking a few days earlier, she was walking her dog as well. She mentioned she had become homeless because her landlord had “pulled a fast one” and she was left with no where to go but the street. We discussed the litter abundant around the city and the park. Litter is everywhere. She indicated to me the site of her tent. It was a seeming spotless campsite.
Yesterday on a walk to Parkdale along a downtown city street, litter was everywhere along the sidewalk. The issue doesn’t seem to be trash receptacles. The issue seems to be people just don’t seem to care. They walk with a blindfold on as well as a mask I thought to myself as I observed dozens of people walking by the blowing plastic or walking around it as if it is seemingly invisible. I do what I can where I can and wonder about the world. People just do not care. They seem to not care about anything but themselves and accumulating things and dumping the trash. Not all people, but the majority of the population of Toronto does not seem to give a damn what the home beneath their feet looks like. I wonder to myself what their home looks like. Does it look like the home of the homeless man under the blue tarp, with litter all over the “floor” and half eaten food containers lying around?
As I picked up the litter around the blue tarp area, a young man and woman appeared out of the public building close to the park site. They admonished me for taking this man’s possessions. To me it was obvious I was picking up recyclables and trash.
“Mother Earth is my home too” I replied. “Perhaps this man did not have a mother to show him how to keep his home clean. I am demonstrating how to keep our home clean.” The two individuals continued to admonish me for picking up litter. They were speaking to the man underneath the blue flap and asking if he was alright.
They stated again that I was removing the man’s “things”. They were incredibly nice to the voice under the tarp and seemed to know him. I asked if it was possible to find housing for the individual and if they would like to assist me in cleaning up the Earth. The man replied that unfortunately, no, there is a housing shortage. There was no attempt to assist with the trash collection and disposal. I asked the woman if she had any garbage bags, she replied “in my car” and left it at that.
This is the state of people I realized. We are so inappropriately nice. Is anyone doing this individual a favour by allowing them to sit amongst squalor, litter, old food, a main attraction for vermin and disease? Is anyone doing the Earth a favour? This couple was so concerned about this man and stated that he was mentally ill. I understand mental illness. I understand addiction.
I do not understand filth in a public place.
I do not understand the gross indecency and lack of respect shown to our home, Earth.
Again, I ask, it it this man’s litter?
Is it my litter?
I took on the responsibility of picking it up.
We the Earth, love our home.
Thank you Mother, Father, Grace for the courage to write this story. Sat Nam.