Environmental Studies – Friday Fictioneers, October 2018

Copyright Sandra Crook

“But it was in the hedgerow, Miss.”

“It’s not ‘nature’, Robbie.”

Robbie was defiant.

“Is too.  There’s loads of them growing there.”

So the ‘alternative-nature’ section of the table was conceived, rapidly filling up with ring-pulls, beer cans, plastic bags and sweet-wrappers.

“That’s unhygienic,” said Robbie’s father on Parents’ Evening, gazing at Robbie’s centre-piece in the alternative-nature section.

Robbie tugged at his hand.

“But it’s nature, Dad, you said so when you let me ride in the truck with you during the holidays.”

With mixed emotions, people studied the plastic bottle glowing resplendently amber under the fluorescent lights.

 If this is just a UK practice, then my story this week may be incomprehensible (nothing new there then).  But I make no apologies for bringing it to the attention of Friday Fictioneers.  Nothing winds me up more than seeing our countryside littered in this way by people too lazy to simply take a moment to get out of the vehicle.  Rant over…   Thank you, Rochelle for using my photo this week.  🙂  It was taken at the old museum in the school house at the deserted and mostly ruined village of Tyneham in Dorset.

About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin'. Bookmark the permalink.

89 Responses to Environmental Studies – Friday Fictioneers, October 2018

  1. Iain Kelly says:

    Agreed, it’s horrible to see. A very dignified rant Sandra.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Such a powerful piece Sandra! Some time ago i was watching a documentary on the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy and Prince Harry had been sent out as ambassador – what was so profoundly devastating was a comment that his generation will be having to step up to sort out the pollution mess as time goes on.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. neilmacdon says:

    Savage and beautifully angry

    Like

  4. ceayr says:

    Eloquently irate, Sandra.
    Cool photo, loved the story behind Tyneham.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jillyfunnell says:

    Mixed emotions indeed here. So well told, Sandra.

    Like

  6. I absolutely agree with you about litter. It is a real problem and utterly unnecessary. I love the way you told the story but I hate the sickening reality that children grow up to see litter as a natural component of their environment.

    Like

  7. Sue says:

    Aaargh…people are so lazy, so careless and no thought for the environment…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Sandra,

    I assure you, we have the same “nature” on this side of the pond. It’s “nice” to know we’re not the only ones destroying the planet. That children might see litter as normal is stomach-churning reality. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

  9. lisarey1990 says:

    A very powerful piece and you wrote it perfectly.

    Like

  10. I feel the same ma’am!

    Like

  11. but Lso, robbie makes a good argument

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Plastics will far out last humanity, and likely play a key role in its demise. If anyone survives this epoch, they will likely see cancer capitalism and the rise of petroleum as the scylla and charibdis of our culture. Well done.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Prior... says:

      chilling comment, J, and we have seen so much “cancer capitalism’ lately to where it makes me sick. And our local VCU has to pay back 4 million dollars for overcharging oncology bills. I guess it happened from 2009 to 2014 and – your words- cancer capitalism – leaped out at me. And this is just what they were caught overcharging for – most prices are already jacked up – makes me so sad – and Sandra’s fiction is a wonderful way to raise awareness.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Joe Owens says:

    Hi Sandra. I share your distaste at the lack of class in how people use the countryside as their personal garbage dump. I try to police my property, although sometimes it leads to odd questions. I am not a drinker, never have been, and one day when taking away trash my son saw some beer cans I had collected and raised his eyebrows.

    Recently i saw something interesting. It is called a plastic bank, where folks can bring used plastic bottles and trade them for money. I want to learn more and see how I can pout this in practice in my town.

    From your story I think the boy is an example of how our norms can change as people look at trash differently. But in truth it is still trash.

    Like

  14. subroto says:

    The world is drowning under plastic so I understand your rant. Scary to think that children might find litter as being part of nature.
    Rant away.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. pennygadd51 says:

    ” glowing resplendently amber under the fluorescent lights” is a great description to conclude your piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Very powerfully put forth man’s growing indifference towards NATURE.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Rowena says:

    Great awareness raising piece, Sandra and a very productive rant. Our supermarkets recently banned single use plastic bags here in Australia. It’s taken us a bit of getting organized and sorted out. I keep a cloth bag in my handbag and am feeling pretty chuffed now. Terrible how all this plastic is even being digested by marine life.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    • Prior... says:

      Rowena, I heard contact lenses are now a culprit in the mircro plastics in the oceans too – whew….

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sandra says:

      The plastic bag ban has worked very well over here. It’s surprisingly easy to remember to pop a couple of bags in the car, or even those gimmicky fold-up bags into your purse/handbag. And there are more ways we can help, if we just take the time to think about it.

      Like

  18. Prior... says:

    like the choice of dialect for this (did not get the part about riding out in the truck at the holidays?)
    – oh and I really loved the feel fo the words – like this had a nice vibe:
    glowing resplendently amber under the fluorescent lights

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      It’s said that the ‘centre-piece’ attraction is largely down to long distance lorry/truck drivers who, rather than interrupt their journeys by stopping at service stations, take a ‘comfort break’ whilst driving and then lob it out of the window onto the verges. I understand that time is lost, that security might be breached when they leave their load unattended at a truck-stop, but for heaven’s sake, take it home with you! Don’t encase it in perpetuity and leave it for someone, maybe a child, to deal with. Uh-oh, you got me going again! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. This was just wonderful. I loved the statement being made so eloquently.

    Like

  20. Excellent story! Hopefully we’ll end up with less alternative nature and more of the real thing.

    Like

  21. I think all humanity (and part of the rodent population) have become the alternative to nature… so yes this make sense… he should get an A for making the point.

    Like

  22. granonine says:

    Human nature, maybe.

    Like

  23. StuHN says:

    Good argument for the kid; bad one for the environment.

    Like

  24. good story about a big problem

    Like

  25. Ha! Please excuse this, but I was thinking of a condom throughout the story. Those REALLY make me made. Well done! You’ve certainly raised some hackles.

    Like

  26. Nicely done, Sandra! There are many who may truly not know the difference between natural and man-made, or the ways with which we litter this Earth and the impacts those make. Well written, and evocative!
    Loved your photo, too. Check out my contribution if you are so inclined: https://naamayehuda.com/2018/10/03/the-gift/
    Na’ama

    Like

  27. plaridel says:

    it’s getting worse indeed. as plastics are thrown into the ocean in vast quantities, they have become part of the food chain. fish are starting to eat them. we’ll likely do the same in the near future.

    Like

  28. Abhijit Ray says:

    Little Robbie got his father trapped in his own logic.

    Like

  29. This is prevalent across the world Sandra, we in India are much worse. I honestly don’t know HOW they can be OK with committing such ‘crimes’.

    Like

  30. Anita says:

    Incisive.
    Plastic universe is such an integral part of or life that unfortunately our kids are bound to think so…
    Here’s mine- Nature’s Treasure

    Like

  31. draliman says:

    I think it was a great idea of Robbie’s – really makes a statement.

    Like

  32. Liz Young says:

    What get me are the photos of the contents of dead whales’ stomachs.

    Like

  33. Dale says:

    And to think this generation is being raised with supposed more knowledge of the environment. They are the ones who are supposed to be conscious of how “we” destroyed the planet and yet, I see them, throwing stuff into the streets… make me nuts.
    Well done, Sandra.

    Like

  34. In the world of geology, there is actually a new geologic unit made up of consolidated rock, plastic, and other trash. It debatably marks the end of the Holocene and the beginning of the Anthropocene.

    Great story!

    Like

  35. 4963andypop says:

    Reminds me of the picnic scene from the tv series “Mad Men.” Unashamedly throwing refuse to the wind. It is the nature that our children are most familiar with, sadly.

    Like

  36. Laurie Bell says:

    Oh yes beautifully done. Great piece Sandra. A truthful moment that you wish wasn’t true

    Like

  37. michael1148humphris says:

    My dog who is called Robbie, often picks up discarded plastic bottles and carries them to the litter bins. I am greatly saddened by the throw away element in society. So I applaud your story.

    Like

  38. Some people are just pigs. We’ve used to have an ad on TV of a Native American standing beside a polluted stream with tears running down his cheeks. It broke my heart every time.

    Like

  39. Well written and well deserved story on our plastic plight! Hope we realise what is growing along side nature!

    Like

  40. elappleby says:

    Now I’m torn because the womble in me quite likes the idea of an alternative nature table, but also – like you – I hate the sight of so much rubbish discarded in the hedgerows. What is wrong with people? I take an empty plastic bag with me when I go for a walk and often come back with one full of rubbish. Apparently there’s a whole movement which jogs and collects rubbish – they’re called ‘ploggers’ (plucking and joggers mash-up). We could do with some round our way!

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      We have quite a thriving community of litter-pickers around here, reinforced by the services of army personnel who have a huge firing range in the surrounding countryside. It’s their way of ‘giving back’ to the community as a compensation for all the artillery fire when they’re on manoeuvres. 🙂

      Like

  41. Lynn Love says:

    Littering is something that drive me absolutely crazy. When I walk through green spaces and see the rubbish people drop and mainly by people who live in the local area too. They care so little for their community that they don’t care if they make it that much more horrible for themselves and everyone else to live there. Baffling. Then there’s the local flats where a handful of tenants (and I’m sure it is only a handful) throw their rubbish straight out of the flat windows rather than put it in a bin liner … You’ve got me started now, Sandra! Love your tale and especially the fact that young man is showing up his father’s bad example – Hopefully he feels suitably ashamed!

    Like

  42. Not much better than a child bringing a truth to light in their innocence. I hope his father learned a thing or two. “Stop the truck and pick up your trash!!” That’s me whenever I see someone throw trash out their window. I have to admit to being quite undignified. 🙂 Well-written story as always and thanks for the photo.

    Like

  43. Each year I find the manner in which my grandparents and great-grandparents lived was not as “backward” as it was portrayed. I find myself trying to replicate my grandmother’s adage of “use it up, wear it out or pass it along.” Plastics have no value in that world.

    Like

  44. Sarah Ann says:

    Great story reminding us of ‘out of the mouths of babes.’ Alternative nature is a great section to have on the table, but not a great thing to have filling the hedgerow. I wonder if those parents with mixed emotions with take note and keep the environment organic.

    Like

  45. Even though I am a proponent of protecting the earth and her resources I admittedly I allowed my children to throw their lollipops sticks out the window when they were small. I used the excuse that birds could use them to make their nests. Nothing else! Sometimes my car stays trashed just because I haven’t separated the recyclables I gather as I go. I would NEVER throw a bottle out into the roadway/forest. But I love how the kid catches his dad in your story. lol

    Like

  46. I think of the islands of plastic in our oceans as I read your story. Thanks for shedding your light on this topic. Thanks for the image prompt!

    Like

  47. Great subject Sandra. I really like the gentle tone alongside the astute observation of the ‘Plastic Plague’, and the adults in your tale being so unaware. Nicely done.

    Like

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