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It’s a throw-a-way society

When I was a little girl, my parents always told me, “Eat what is on your plate, there are starving kids in China.” I believed them. So, not wanting to waste those nasty green peas and lima beans (I only asked once if the ugly veggies could be packaged and sent to China), I relied on Squeaky, the family Dachshund-mix, to ease my conscience and appease my mother, who insisted that we eat the stuff we hated just because it was good for us. I think the child experts now dispute that 1950s way of thinking. Nevertheless, to this day, I don’t waste food. But many people do, and food is just one example of today’s throwaway society.I have been in restaurants where parents order a full meal – hamburger, French fries and then dessert – for their children under age six. Consistently, I have watched as the waiter whisks away the half-eaten burger and horde of fries to replace those food items with an ice-cream sundae or a piece of chocolate cake, which is usually left behind as well. Food trashing is not just for kids. How many times have you thrown out leftovers or left the restaurant without asking for a doggie bag? Manitou Springs has the holiday fruitcake toss every year, but we all know that in the end those fruitcakes are tossed in the trash. Is that responsible? Am I being too cynical – too negative, as I lambaste a community fruitcake tossing because I am still thinking about those starving kids in China or those not-so-indulged kids in the United States? (I started my career in social work.)If you don’t agree with me that over-indulgence in one’s favorite restaurant constitutes a wasteful society, perhaps you’ll agree with this: The other day I was driving on Highway 105 through Monument, and I watched as the person driving a car in front of me, with a Colorado license plate, tossed what appeared to be a fast-food paper bag filled with containers and trash out his car window. I ran over the stuff. Where are the cops when you need them? What kind of person does that? And I’ve witnessed more than one driver tossing his or her cigarette out the car window on a dry, sunny Colorado afternoon. Come on!Our wasteful society has permeated the corporate world as well. Everyday, they are developing new technology and newfangled technical equipment. I walked into Blockbuster’s in Falcon a couple of weeks ago, and the majority of videos were DVDs. I have a perfectly good VCR. Why should I have to buy a DVD player just because technology is dictating a change? Come on. I am all for progress and choice, but I should not have to buy something new because technology warrants it, because the industry is driving it. A year ago, my cell phone batteries died, and the batteries were no longer available. I had to buy a new plan and a new cell phone. I say again – come on!Another atrocity is humankind’s pompous, throwaway attitude concerning domestic animals. I recently adopted a kitten from a Falcon household. I recently found out the same household from where I adopted the kitty had thrown the last kitty left in the litter – a beautiful, silver tabby male – just 4-months-old – outside and locked him out of their home. It seems they were frustrated because they could not find him a home, even though the NFH offered to place a free ad for him in the newspaper. (In this day and age, why wasn’t their mama cat spayed in the first place?) Come on. The kitten could easily become coyote or fox bait.Okay, all you farmers and ranchers may be saying, “That’s the way it was/is on the farm.” However, farm life is different for the cats – they may have had shorter lives but they had lots of mice and most of the cats were wild – they never saw the inside of a house. And that was the farm. This is Falcon – Falcon Hills, to be exact. I don’t see barns and farms anywhere in Falcon Hills.Here is another example of our throwaway society: A few years ago, a certain feed store in Monument, Colo., was selling baby ducks during Easter. The adults bought them for their children because they were cute. But the ducks grew up, with clipped wings, and the human adults decided the grown ducks were too much trouble, so they transported the ducks to a nearby pond, where the ducks were “stuck” because they couldn’t fly. Hello – here comes winter. Thank the stars – the town rallied, and the ducks that still exist on that pond are fed year-round through a duck-feeding fund. The feed store no longer sells the baby ducks. But – come on!Our throwaway society is a result of instant gratification, greed and stupidity – bottom line. Maybe my mom and dad, who suffered through the Great Depression, were right to respect and savor their abundant food, their television, their pristine land and the companionship of pets. The generation that gave birth to the baby boomers did not experience, as they were growing up, the same privileges as their children.What my parents ultimately taught me was respect for my fellow humans – respect for their space and their feelings. I don’t see that happening when we disregard fellow humans who are struggling to put food on the table, when we litter the sacred ground, when we force people to spend money on new technology, when we discard an animal and expect our neighbors to feed and care for the little creature. Hey, it’s just my opinion. Argue with me, if you will. But, honestly, come on!

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