Don’t be bitter, please don’t litter. And please, please, please pick up your dog’s poop. It is quite disgusting and a health hazard to one and all.
As sometimes happens on a spring drive, the amount of litter gets very troubling. So it was on a recent jaunt on Vee Lake Road when we decided to do a little clean-up. There were a lot of food wrappers, cans, and bottles. Most of the cans were beer. Although, we did find one container for coconut water. I was surprised and wondered, what is it doing here? Was someone using it for mix, maybe with a little vodka, or was it from a health food aficionado, who also liked to litter? Why should the beer drinkers have all the fun?
On the second day of the cleanup, in an area we had already done, I spotted a bright and shiny, brand new piece of litter. It had to be less than an hour old because there was no road dust on it at all. It was a beer can and when I picked it up, its label read Earth. I had never seen a beer called Earth before, so put it aside so I could have a better look later.
On its label the manufacturers said that “Beer has been bringing people together for thousands of years – we are also 100 per cent committed to creating a brighter, cleaner future that ensures beer can continue to be enjoyed for thousands of years to come.”
It is true that beer has been around for a long time. The earliest reference to it comes from a 3,900-year-old Sumerian text. So, people were already making it at that point. Beer can, in fact, make itself, if wet grain in a container starts to ferment. So, humans discovered how to make beer by learning from mother nature.
As long as people inhabit the earth, they will probably continue to make beer. However, a thousand years is a long time. For humans, a generation is usually somewhere between twenty to thirty years. Thus, a thousand years would be 30 to 50 generations from now. I wondered if humans would still be picking up litter from the roadside that far in the future. Surely at some point people will learn not to litter.
The beer can, also had written on it: “The water flows”, “The wind blows” “Earth”, “Future in your hands.” I tried to decipher, just what it was that they were trying to say. Were they trying to say that as long as the water flows and the wind blows, people will be drinking beer and the future of the planet is in your hands?
That is a bit of a philosophical statement to ponder. If a meteorite came slamming into the Earth and shattered it into a thousand pieces, then the future wasn’t in your hands after all.
So, the future may or may not be in people’s hands. But let’s get back to economics. Will a beer named Earth, with some cryptic saying on it, really sell well? There are a lot of beers out there with a lot of names attached to them to choose from. Who would buy the beer because the name of it somehow made them feel good? And how many of those people will throw the cans away at the side of the road? You could put the empty can into a stream and watch the water flow, carry it away. Or, you could float it in the lake and watch the wind blow and carry it away.
Just as the bottle of coconut water got me thinking this can of beer really had me perplexed. Who would buy a beer named Earth and then throw the can away as just another piece of litter? Maybe the person had bought it on purpose, just so they could litter and show their disdain for whatever they were disdaining?
Here is something to think about. The roadsides in the NWT are lined with beer cans, liquor bottles and trash. If they were never picked up by anyone, then eventually, they would form walls. There is the Great Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall, Trump’s border wall with Mexico and maybe we will have the spectacular NWT walls of litter. Give it a thousand years or so.