Looking at the world we live in isn’t a warm and fuzzy experience lately. There is so much wrong and what is wrong has been going wrong for ages. It didn’t start (contrary to all opinions to the contrary) with my generation or with my parents generation or with their parents. It has been happening slowly, then faster and ever faster as long as humanity has walked the earth. What happened recently to make it so much worse or at least seem so much worse?

The enormity of our population and machinery. Instead of cutting down trees with an axe, we have bulldozers.

There were slightly more than 3 billion people on earth in 1960 when I was entering my teen years. Twenty years later, when I was heading off to live in Israel, there were 4.4 billion people. By the time I came back in 1988, there were 5.1 billion people on this planet. By the time Garry and I moved here, the number of people on earth had more than doubled since 1960 and stood (crawled?) at 6.1 billion people.

As of November 15, 2022, we topped 8 billion people. That’s a lot of people.

No wonder there are no wild place left. There are so many of us, we are everywhere.

Not only do we have the means to flatten every forest and eliminate any hint of wildness and natural habitat, but with the population exploding as it is, we have made it the only thing left for us to do. All these people have to go somewhere.

If you look at the population from around 10,000 BCE, you can see it remained stable until the 1700s – at which point, humanity exploded.

What happened in the 1700s? The industrial revolution took off — everywhere on earth. Revolution — ours and then many others — rocked the world. People started emigrating from the old to the “new” world. It wasn’t new to the people who lived there, but to the people coming from the “old” world, it was plenty of room and they filled it as fast as they could.

So here we are today. Trying to hold on to whatever we have left before it all crashes and burns, floods or is covered by mudslides. It leaves people like me wondering, “What more can I do?”

They only pick up recycling every other week. We don’t even have a dump in this town, so if it doesn’t fit in the bin, it has to wait another two weeks and in the end, a lot of stuff gets trashed because bi-weekly recycling is inadequate as are this state’s resources for managing recyclables. Other smaller states (like Rhode Island, for example) have done far better than Massachusetts.

Everything I use in my kitchen is designed for long use or can be composted. I’d recycle more, but they won’t pick it up and we have nowhere to store it. I feed the birds every morning in the hope that we will still have birds a few years from now. I’ve given up any significant gardening outside because the deer eat it, the skunks dig up the bulbs, and the strangling vines take care of the rest. If I can grow it in a pot, it lives. Everything else, dead or almost dead.

What else can I do? What’s particularly bizarre is how Massachusetts keep setting up new recycling laws that apparently apply entirely to Boston and it’s nearby suburbs because out here? It’s the same old, same old. We are the forgotten people, living in a forgotten county. We pay taxes and we get nothing back. We have no sidewalks, streetlights, trash collection, or recycling plants. Not a single dump or recycling facility of any kind.

What more can I do? Nothing, really. If it can be done, I’m doing it.

The real answer for many of us who are “of an age,” is that there is nothing more we can do. We’ve done what we can with the resources we’ve got. Now, those with the power and finances to make a difference need to step up and do whatever it takes so we can do more too.

Clear the way. Make our recycling mean something. Give us a hand. I don’t know about anyone else, but this is as far as I can go unless something changes.

Categories: #Birds, #gallery, #Photography, #Squirrel, Anecdote

Tags: , , , , , ,

6 replies

  1. Well said, Marilyn! There is only so much we can do and if they don’t provide the means to do even that, what hope is there. We are lucky that they pick up our recycling materials every week which is a good thing as we have far more of that than we do regular garbage.


    • We have easily twice as much recycling as trash so an every other week pickup is stupid and leaves us with a lot more recycling than will ever be taken away, much less actually recycled. I finally realized that fretting over what I can’t do because there IS no way for me to do it is just stupid. I’m not fixing anything. We PAY for trash and recycling, unlike everyone in Boston and in their suburbs. We pay for everything they get for free in and near Boston. It’s infuriating. But that’s just the way it is and I can’t fix it.


  2. We are fortunate that although we only have fortnightly recycling our council provide a big bin for it so we never have any problems saving it up. And of course living in a city we don’t share your problems with a lack of infrastructure but we also don’t get the beautiful variety of bird life that you enjoy! Keep up the feeding, I’m sure they appreciate and thrive on it 🙂


    • The wildlife and the river are the saving graces of this area. We have no meaningful infrastructure, but it IS beautiful. If they would at least take care of the recycling, it would stay even more beautiful because people wouldn’t find themselves with a lot of stuff to get rid of and no place to put it that doesn’t cost a lot of money. I wouldn’t even mind the taxes if we got something in return.

      Still, because no one really cares about Worcester County (as opposed to Worcester, the city), the mostly leave us in peace. We don’t have a lot of rules and regulations and no one wants to live here — we’re too far from Boston for a reasonable commute, have no trains or buses either. There isn’t much work for anyone, so I don’t see anything changing much anytime soon. We get to keep the birds and our creatures. Heaven help us if they decide to “improve” us! I’m sure all they will do is make everything worse.


  3. This makes for a sobering read. We always can go (drive) to our local recycling place with our newspapers, cardboard, bottles, PET, etc. I wonder how we cd do it w/o a car which is something I aspire to.
    But you guys really are in a bad situation … the ine big plus is the beautiful selection of birds 🐦. That’s truly a big blessing.


    • We get the beauty — just effectively, no infrastructure. This has always been the big peril of living in the country. Rural residents ALWAYS get shortchanged. All the benefits go to cities and suburbs and the rest of us? Enjoy the wildlife.

      Lucky for me, I really DO enjoy the wildlife.


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