Heather and I went to Rum Village today to join the Trash Troopers. When we arrived at the park, however, we didn't see anyone. We asked the fellow who was working at the front desk if he had seen anyone picking up trash; he didn't. So we figured we might as well do it without them.
We walked just a bit past the Nature Center and quickly found a host of trash strewn in the woods. This time I had gloves on, so it was easier to deal with the trash and focus on not getting stuck by sticker bushes. Similar to my neighborhood trash-trooping experience, it didn't take us long to fill up our bags with discarded materials. In comparison to Heather, I did not find too many digusting items. She found a pantyliner, a bottle of beer (or urine! Who knows? We didn't open it to find out!), and part of a raccoon's tail. But I did find a used condom, which made me want to gag. Oh, for the love!
Not long after the condom encounter, we spotted the Trash Troopers. They were fairly conspicuous in their green attire. Heather and I apparently did not get that memo - I was wearing a pink shirt and she was wearing a yellow pullover. At any rate, we decided against joining the gang because we thought it would be best if everyone dispersed in their trash-collecting efforts. Plus, we were nearing our 1-hour commitment.
So as we wrapped things up, I brought up the question that Nate recently posed: By picking-up other people's trash, are we really enabling others to litter and pollute? Sheesh, this is a good and tough question to answer. It feels like a catch-22. No, it's not okay to litter and no, I don't really want to pick-up after strangers (especially that used condom; disgusting!). But it's also not okay to turn a blind eye to this problem. "This is what diffusion of responsibility looks like", I told Heather, as I carried a full trash bag. It's not pretty, but as you can tell from the picture, we did have a good time making Rum Village look more like a hospitable park, and less like a landfill.