People have always left trash where they stayed or passed through. It’s just something we’ve always done and will continue to do. Prehistoric garbage was left by hunters and gatherers and leaves a window into the lives of people who hadn’t developed the written word. We can examine their diet and the tools they used in their everyday lives. You can imagine a family sitting around a fire in a cave making things from stone and clay and bone because they just threw things on the floor. That’s great for us that they did that tens of thousands of years ago. If they’d kept a neat and tidy existence how would we know how our ancestors lived?
In modern times, over the last one hundred years specifically, we’ve become experts at recording every detail of everything we do to be preserved if we like for eternity as we know it. There’s so many options to record our daily lives that it’s hard to name them all off the top of your head. I can’t anyway. There’s also around seven billion of us now compared to the tiny fraction of that Just two hundred years ago. That means over a billion people are documenting their lives for posterity.
Along with our wonderfully advanced skills at recording our history and culture we’ve also developed an awesome power to create more garbage than any cave man could have dreamed of. We invented plastics and other things made from oil that make our over population and technologies possible. We produce these necessities at a pace unfathomable just a century ago. Like the caveman chucking out broken flint tools, we discard things that are used up or no longer wanted. Unlike prehistoric trash though we’re creating a serious problem that has no purpose but to create a toxic and ugly world. You can’t walk anywhere without seeing plastic bottles under fallen leaves and white bags blowing from swaying trees. It kind of takes away the experience of trekking through woods unknown.
Most of it is just people being lazy and throwing their shit on the ground like a Neanderthal. A lot of it is produced by industry and people just living. I know writing this won’t change anything and only a few people will read this. When I tell cashiers that I prefer paper bags because they aren’t blowing from trees I get funny looks. Other people seem to think the Dasani bottle left behind on a hike will be picked up by somebody or just disappear. We’ll never lose our caveman mentality of shitting where we eat as our sewage dumps into rivers where people fish and swim downstream. Anytime people walk in the woods this century and centuries down the road our trash will be underfoot. This goes for the entire planet and even the most devoted environmentalist and leave no trace behind hiker are guilty. We just leave our trash in the woods. Do we really have to though?