Part Three: Taste it kids. It’s blackberry!
There are two Spotted Sandpipers foraging along the water. They bob their tails as they walk.
In the river, a yacht passes by. It sends tumultuous waves ashore, and the birds give up their search.
A record heat wave is approaching. Though it’s early in the day, the “feels like” temperature is approaching 90˚F (32˚C).
I walk into a shady alcove and see trash on the ground. I see one can and, a few feet away, another. And here’s another one. As I walk toward the water, I see one, two, three more.
I have a plastic bag with me, and I’m getting near the end of the trail. It’s maybe only a mile or so back to the trailhead. I think I’ll take these with me, because it saddens me to see them strewn across this beautiful place.
I’m high enough on the land that I know someone brought these into the park. They didn’t float up; didn’t come ashore with the water.
They’re all the same kind of beverage. I read the label. White Clam Hard Seltzer. Spiked sparkling water with a hint of blackberry. No offense, White Clam. I know that your company doesn’t encourage people to dump their litter at the shore.
I smile as a Black Swallowtail lands on the hand carrying the trash bag.
A Black Racer whips past, just a few feet away. I jump a bit, startled by the sudden movement. This snake is big—and fast!
The cans that I pick up raise a question. If you know what you’re selling is harmful or fraudulent, is it morally wrong to sell it? I once participated in a study that asked the same question. At least a third of the participants said, “Sure. Too bad for the person who buys it.” In their mind, selling anything made one a successful businessman.
Another third was silent, possibly because the self-proclaimed businessmen were loud and aggressive in demeanor.
The final third argued against duping others into purchasing harmful products, but were eventually worn down by the businessmen who badgered and belittled them. I was the only one that would not back down, which surprised me. I don’t consider myself particularly assertive.
But no. It’s not all right. If someone is purposefully selling something known to be fraudulent or hurtful, it’s wrong—no matter the rationalization.
For instance, the alcohol in this particular beverage is flavored in a way that appeals to children and very young adults. An older person is not going to drink blackberry (and strawberry) flavored alcohol. So yes, it is harmful. And they know it’s harmful. And they’re still selling it.
And now, not only is it detrimental to their young customers, but it’s also detrimental to the environment. Because once inhibitions are lowered, imbibers toss their trash to the ground.
Of course, that’s just the opinion of an everyday person. Nobody special. But I know that I want the best for other people, as well as myself. Our goal is to bring out the best in one another. Not to encourage, provoke, or instill bad behavior. And by bad, I don’t mean following every rule to the letter, but to have common courtesy and consideration for other people and other living things.
Photo of Spotted Sandpiper by Becky Matsubara with Flickr.
Photo of Black Racer by Peter Paplanus with Flickr.
Photo of beer can and Eastern Black Swallowtail by Carol Fullerton-Samsel 2021.