Lakes & Litter

It appears that most of my posts involve reflection, in some form or another and primarily in the comparison department, due to the interest I find in each place on this wonderful planet that we get to call home, sometimes for only a short stop, and others for longer.

With that in mind, here goes with another of those comparisons between my third world homeland of South Africa and our first world adopted land of Europe – I use that broadly as we continue our adventures through various European countries.

We took a Monday bunk-day in order to capitalise on the incredible “Indian Summer” Autumn weather that we enjoyed in Switzerland this year and headed to the beautiful Lake Thun. The Monday price-cut special was a contributing factor too, of course! What a day for cruising the lake and the opportunity to soak up the eye-watering views from the water, for a change of perspective.

The colour and clarity of the water in the lake is only comparable to what we experienced on our first international family holiday in New Zealand, some 14 years ago. We had the opportunity of taking a beautifully restored boat across the lake in the South Island town of Queenstown – not too dissimilar to where we find ourselves now as it too is a ski resort town. The water in that lake was incredible and each of us remarked on the fact that it was so CLEAN!

The pristine cleanliness of the villages and towns in Switzerland delight my slightly OCD heart: “everything has its place and everything in its place”, being one of my mantras for the girls when they were growing up, so it is here in this Alpine country! That includes a place for litter, namely the bin/garbage can/waste receptacle. Not so much in sunny SA, sadly…

Having not been back to SA for a year and given the global viral take-over that we are all dealing with, it is with a heavy heart that I hear from my dear family and friends there, about how the profusion of litter across the beautiful, vast country has literally exploded.

What is it about poverty that leads to such blatant disrespect for the earth that we all need in order to survive? Poverty is often the result of poor or lack of education. Without getting into any nitty-gritty, mud-slinging political debate, I find it hard to believe that this disgusting habit of littering is only a lack of education.  

When I consider the “lost/ancient tribes” of the world, they had no education apart from what was instilled in them by their ancestors. I would hazard a guess that 99% of them would have taught their descendants the value of the earth in order to support and sustain life.

Why then are the vast majority of impoverished, third world countries so choked with litter and their pitiful waterways clogged with garbage?  

It is these musings that literally “hurt my heart”, to coin a phrase used by our girls when they were little, and gives me some trepidation for our eventual return trip to visit our family and friends… and I shall have to guard my effusiveness over the cleanliness of the villages, towns and cities in Switzerland and especially over the incredible beauty of clean, Alpine streams, rivers and lakes.

It is no wonder that my gratitude bubble grows ever larger for the gift of the adventure that our lives have become!

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