Children collect trash, putting elders to shame

By Phil Crossman | Apr 14, 2017

Every state has designated a flower as its own. Maine is the only state not to have christened an actual flower blossom for that particular designation. Instead our “flower” is the pine cone and tassel (Pinus Strobus).

Not many towns have designated a particular floral emblem as their own. Vinalhaven may be an exception, for we have apparently selected the empty Budweiser can (Chuckus Emptius) as our own town flower. It emerges reliably each spring just ahead of the crocuses, lending modest variety to the companionable and astonishing accumulation of debris that a few of us clearly feel free to toss out the window day after day, night after night.

Those of us who think this is OK are exercising a proprietary contempt for our surroundings that is difficult to comprehend. And the rest of us have grown complacent and accustomed to it. So habituated that we muster all the kids in school, nearly every spring, to go out and clean up after a few of the rest of us. Last year, inspired by the documentary "Wasteland," and determined to make this a productive and fun affair, the kids painted the outline of our island on the outdoor basketball court. Then the entire student body hit the road.

More than 100 bags of rubbish were transported to the school and put in a circle around the painted island. The students, wearing blue to signify the ocean, then circled the bags and a Quad Copter drone maneuvered overhead to take the terrific photo that most have seen by now and that attracted such attention.

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Comments (8)
Posted by: Don Dickinson | Apr 23, 2017 23:43

Thank you M T and sorry for my harsh response last night. I did step over the line with name calling, which I know we shouldn't be doing here on VS.

Posted by: Maggie Trout | Apr 23, 2017 13:28

I apologize.  My tone was snarky, and shows a thoughtless and visceral response to yet another broad-brush headline.  I was wrong in my interpretation of "elders," referring, in this instance, to adults who mindlessly toss garbage on the land, not those who might have gained a modicum of wisdom and responsibility over a lifetime.  Nonetheless, the continuance of littering has not caused shame, such that the behavior stops, and the perpetrators can count on someone else to do the clean-up. As I age, I become more acutely aware of how much I do not know.  But I do know that the island has a year-round population of under 1,700; that the perpetrators might well be known; that, with good reason, substantial fines for littering, that were enforced, were necessary to get people back in line, that "shaming" only works with people who change their behavior because of it, and it rarely works to effect change; that island culture and daily living difficulties pose increased hurdles; and that globalizing, (all) students, (all) elders, is ineffective.  Still, I was wrong to react and comment in the manner I did.

Posted by: Don Dickinson | Apr 23, 2017 00:38

Well excuse me Miss Know it All. Didn't mean to ruffle your your feathers. Oh wait, yes I did. Don't know the link to the real world that I live in but your more than welcome to visit. :D

Posted by: Maggie Trout | Apr 22, 2017 18:18

I don't know that he wrote the headline.  If you think that this kind of headline wins over anyone and that it has a positive impact, than send me a link to whatever world it is that you reside in, because that isn't how it works. 

Posted by: Don Dickinson | Apr 22, 2017 15:33

I believe the author, when using the phrase "putting elders to shame", is referring to the older individuals that created the trash in the first place. The "elders" should be ashamed for their actions. After a week of perusing this story, I would think that you would have realized the point he was trying to make. GREAT headline Phil.

Posted by: Maggie Trout | Apr 21, 2017 12:29

That's as bad as saying that elders are put to shame regarding trash.

Posted by: Nina Reed | Apr 21, 2017 12:26

maybe the kids are drinking the beer. patrricia williams


Posted by: Maggie Trout | Apr 21, 2017 11:36

Been reading this lousy headline for a week now.  Why set it up so that "elders are put to shame."  Why is painting an outline of an island on the basketball court.. and of COURSE a drone would be involved.  Yeah.  It's really helpful to put elders to shame, encourage disrespect, and deny the part the elders have played into keeping things a non-wasteland.

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