Tuesday, November 13, 2007


A woman is eating a panino, holding it with a napkin, she takes the last bite and just chucks the napkin on the ground even though there is a garbage pail 10 feet away (the incriminating object could be a gum wrapper, empty pack of cigarettes, dog crap, etc... you get the picture). Scenes like this still horrify me even after years of living here! It's soooooo hard for me not to say anything BUT I've had to learn to shut my trap because after a few unpleasant clashes with litterbugs, I've decided it's not worth risking my hide.

Living in the land of litterbugs, I can't help but wonder- who taught me not to litter? For the life of me I can't remember when I learned that littering was bad. Did my mom teach me? Did we learn it in school? (after all, they even taught us how to properly brush our teeth with a giant set of denture-like teeth) Did I see some sort of public service announcement on TV? (I loooooved those, especially the pill one! Back in the day, my sister and I even tried to re-create it with our own sock puppets)

So my question is, do any of you remember when or how you learned that littering was a no-no?


lisa said...

Hum, good question! I think I just learned from observation- never seeing anyone litter pretty much taught me that it was a no-no.

Emmina said...

I don't but I often wonder why I am so repelled by it and why so many people here don't think twice before throwing something on the ground. I physically can't bring myself to do it, so I suspect it was something that was planted in my brain when I was too young to realise - probably by my civic-sense militant mother!!

sognatrice said...

Honestly? I vividly remember a "Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful" campaign as a kid (obviously I'm from PA). I was probably about 10 and we put on flourescent vests and cleaned up the sides of roads. I remember coloring books and all kinds of anti-litter stuff to go along with it--it made not littering fun and cool, I guess.

I don't know if that's what turned me anti-litterbug, but I definitely remember those times well.

jennifer said...

My husband and I ran a restaurant in a beautiful area of the mountains in northern Italy. I vividly remember seeing children throw their ice cream wrappers on the ground as they sat right next to their parents, who said nothing.
We would spend our evenings, with my children in tow, cleaning up the mess.
Attitudes about respect for others and the environment start at home.

zeva said...

I agree with Jennifer, I think it's something you leanr or observe from your parents. I too have seen plenty of adults with children littering all over the place in Italy. It enrages me, is it realy that hard to carry a wrapper in your hand until you see a garbage pail? It's that typical "menefregismo" that is rampant in Italy- not only in regards to littering but to every single area of life in general.

lorraine said...

I remember growing up in New York and seeing the crying Indian commercial on tv which had a big impact on me as a child: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4ozVMxzNAA
Years later, I found out that the "Indian" was actually an Italian actor, the son of immigrants from Sicily-LOL! I live in Palermo now and I can't stand seeing people litter any more. From now on I'm going to pretend they've dropped whatever they drop on the street by accident and say, Oh, you've dropped your whatever... and then wait for them to pick it up. If they admit to having dropped it on purpose I'll tell them ok, now that you've admitted to littering the fine for that is ... would you like to pay your fine now or would you like to have it mailed to you? I'll probably be yelled at and then arrested for impersonating a police woman. Sadly, even in the US, more than 42 percent of Americans admitted to littering in the past month.