I think Mr. Webb is seeing what he wants to see. There's no more trash in
Idaho and Utah than anywhere else in the U.S.Tangent: If you want
to notice something ugly and unpleasant, look at the billboards in northern
Utah. They block out the scenery and make Utah's public face so deplorable
you don't have time to notice trash. Billboards are banned in Alaska,
Hawaii, Maine, and Vermont and the city of Seattle. If you've been there,
you know the beautiful difference it makes.
Its so cold in Alberta people don't spend that much time outside littering
or much of anything else.
One thing I meant to add to my first post was mentioned by 'casual
observer', and that is the absence of billboards except within a few
municipalities and first nations, and a couple along QE2 by Airdrie.
They're a blight on the land, bad in Utah but no where worse than anywhere
within a couple hundred kilometres of Wall, South Dakota.
In the end... I think classifying any group of people as "lazy" is wrong
minded. I would say though there is a preponderance of people in the state of
Utah that just don't care. The church excuse just doesn't cary any
weight. Church members - which make a large portion of the southern
Alberta populous, they aren't any less busy with their church callings than
church members in Utah. Neither are their "large" family less work.
Those are all excuses. "I am too busy doing the Lords work to care about
his creation" is a ridicules response.Perhaps if that is the
case, some personal introspection is needed on your own priorities. It is an
overt decision to not care... own up to it. It is an overt decision to let
developers built what they want without regard to community. Don't run
away from what local society has decided to prioritize.
@ SGThe richly forested California side of Lake Tahoe is located on
the western edge of the Central Basin & Range ("Great Basin").
There is obviously great differences of climate and vegetation within an area
about the size of Montana. There is also great differences of climate on the
north side of my house and the south side. Both sides do need watering
(irrigation) in the summer.“I would further argue that YOU are
the one who is perpetuating a myth -- namely, that...moist subregions don't
exist in deserts.” Lake Tahoe and the Wasatch Front are indeed
sub-regions of the Great Basin. The Wasatch Front is not exactly
“moist” in the Lake Tahoe or North Carolina context. The natural
grass was to the boots of the horse riders in 1847. The Roses and desert
mythology developed some years after Brigham Young declared that this was the
correct location to build Zion.He was correct. It provided soil,
water and climate to farm. There is timber and rock nearby to build with. The
Wasatch Front also provided isolation in a remote part of Mexico. That
isolation did not last very long though.
I've noticed an increasing amount of trash along the highways here as well.
Some of it, no doubt, comes from trucks without adequate measures to keep trash
confined. However, most of it comes from carelessness, and/or ignorance. Aside from communities cleaning it up what can we do to prevent it?
There are fines in place but I've never heard of anyone being caught and
fined for littering.
I once asked a man from Germany what surprised him most in his visit to
America.His reply: "The size of your garbage cans!"And I just came home from a long trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin. Those
states put Utah to shame in many ways. Incredible state parks, highways,
cleanliness and more.I mentioned this to a city official in
Minnesota and said something about it being a Republican conservative state. He
replied, "There's a big difference between regressive Republicans and
those who realize you need to spend money if you're going to have a good
place to live. We just try very hard to spend it wisely."
Lazy, disrespectful, selfish, arrogant, apathetic,- Some won't clean up as
they don't care what neighbors and travelers feel about having to view
their trash everyday. It isn't just ID, UT. and income has nothing to do
with tidiness and responsible stewarship.
@William Gronberg,You're picking nits, but I think you know
that . . .The Wasatch Front is the eastern edge of the Central Basin
& Range ("Great Basin") EPA Level III ecoregion, with the possible
exception of the alluvial deltas at the mouths of the canyons on the east
benches of the Wasatch Front valleys, which could arguably be considered part of
the Wasatch & Uinta Mountains EPA Level III ecoregion. As the Great Basin
is part of the North American Deserts EPA Level I ecoregion, I would argue that
by most objective measures, the Great Basin (including the Wasatch Front
valleys) would be considered "desert". I would further argue that YOU
are the one who is perpetuating a myth -- namely, that wetlands and moist
subregions don't exist in deserts. * * * * * On-topic, it is shameful that we (collectively) don't do more to be good
stewards of the land with which we (collectively) have been entrusted.
Reasons for the trashy look?1- The 20th century city planners pushed all
the ugly landmarks close to the highway, like oil refineries - keeping the
neighborhoods cleaner. And who would place a refinery 1 mile from the capitol? -
only in Utah. Drive up to the East benches and you'll see spotless
suburbs.2- Having lived in Florida and Michigan, I am surprised at how low
the wages are in Utah. Lower pay equates to poorer people, equates to trashier
yards.3- There are lots of low income immigrant groups in Utah, which you
don't get in states like Vermont.4- Utah has above-average children
in households, over-burdened young mothers, etc. Having raised 5 teenagers, I
can tell you that it's very easy for larger families to let the
'neatness factor' go unless they make a real effort. And college
students (which Utah has a ton of) don't focus on keeping neighborhoods
clean.5- Mormons are busy. With all the volunteering in church activities,
missions, etc., there isn't much time left to focus on keeping communities
clean.6- Deserts are uglier and harder to keep clean. In Michigan there is
green stuff covering every square inch, hiding the trash!
@William Gronberg - i am not sure really what the difference makes.... Salt
Lake in considered a hybrid with semi-aired in the summer and damp in the
winter. But in the end.... what exactly is your point? How does that change
anything? It comes down to how people are treating their
stewardship.... whether it is sub tropical, or high desert. Doesn't seem
to matter much to Canadians. Vancouver is equally as clean as is Calgary and
Edmonton.Perhaps I am just missing your point.... that somehow
debating if Brigham Young meant "new developments" or if he was
describing Salt Lake changes our responsibility. Is it your point that we are
to create a garden in the desert, but thrash everywhere else..... I don't
think that is what you mean....
WOW ! Hard to come up with a more exaggerated comparisons.“Utah reminds me too much of Tiajuana, Somalia, or New Delhi.”
Strider303,I can't just walk down I-15 and pick up the stuff
he's complaining about. That would be very dangerous for me and everybody
else.It's always problematic when you try to judge a whole
people by one thing like this. You can't judge the whole State by what
you see on I-15. Now that said... IF there's anything we can do to keep
I-15 cleaner we should do it. I just don't know what it would be (besides
not throwing stuff out of your car). Because we can't sweep I-15 every
week or so.Since we don't have rainfall to keep lush
landscaping along Utah highways like they do in some states (the Great Basin has
a high desert climate)... The only thing I can think of we CAN do is... not
throw stuff out of our cars. And the thing I see flying out of cars more than
anything else are cigarettes. The Redwood Road off-ramp has so many cigarette
butts where traffic stops that the grass can't even grow though all the
butts.Las Vegas has the same problem (weird they didn't note
Canada, Europe, and parts of Asia [think Socialist countries]Do not allow
developers the endless, un-bridled URABAN sprawl.They fiendishly
encourage recycling, and making do or do without.Utah reminds
me too much of Tiajuana, Somalia, or New Delhi.BTW -- The Salt
Lake Temple USED to be and should be the icon of the City and State.It's becoming buried under by Business, Banks, and Condominiums.Places like Paris France [Eiffel Tower], Washington D.C. [Capitol, Monuments],
Seattle [Space Needle], etc. ALL protect their city's idols with ordinances
prohibiting building 6 stories within 1/4 mile or more to protect their
international icons. Like I said - Salt Lake is becoming subjected
to Business and Developers -- all in the name and love of $$$.
Yes “desert” can and does have different definitions to different
people, in different times and in different contexts. Brigham Young did not
talk about the subject of a desert until some years after 1847. When he started
to send pioneers out to genuine desert places, then the desert myth was born.
In effect he was saying, you can do the same there that we have done here.The 1847 pioneers did not start writing about settling a desert in their
journals until years later. When I was a geography student at BYU from 1970 to
1972, I read a paper by one of my geography professors. He studied over 100
pioneer journals written in 1847-48 and NOT the ones written years later. The
word “desert” was found in less than 5 and usually referred to the
area of Green River, Wyoming.“Ummm.... what do you call it
then? It lacks water. It lacks naturally occurring vegetation.”When I visit the roof of the LDS Conference Center the guiding missionary
always take me to see “the natural vegetation” that has been planted
there.No water. City Creek and Jordan River are real.
Well we went to Alberta fairly recently and did not see such a difference. We
took I-15 which looked clean and we noticed some garbage on some side roads in
Lethbridge.I observed one or two older Alberta barns were nicely
painted whereas often in Utah you see old neglected, falling-down, barns, but
the little towns in Northern Utah I noticed were rather remarkable for
cleanliness and neatness.There are stretches of highways around Salt
Lake City, West Valley City, etc that do collect some debris and some drivers
act churlishly in throwing items out of windows. Most do not, though, and you
see, in those areas, workers (inmates from correctional institutions or people
performing "community service") placing trash in bags. However I did
not see the kind of extreme contrast discussed in this piece.We need
to paint our barns, yes. We need to knock old ones down before they fall down
from exhaustion, or preserve them where possible. We did notice that
the freeways or highways on which we traveled in Alberta were relatively quiet,
sometimes empty, which helps. Give Alberta its due but be fair to our mountain
"Here again is a very popular incorrect perception."What
started by Brigham Young as to be a beautiful place in the desert,..."The "desert" is in Moab, St. George and Delta. Not the Wasatch
Front."Ummm.... what do you call it then? It lacks water. It
lacks naturally occurring vegetation. Regardless... the direct quote is
“The Desert Shall Rejoice, and Blossom as the Rose”. Call it what
you like, debate what is and isn't a desert... but this is what he said.
There are parts of the valley that I would safely say matches that
proclamation...but there are far too many more that closer resemble a brier
patch. To those whom are given much, much should be expected. Greed and
laziness, and self entitlement is holding to much of Utah from its promised
@ William GronbergWilliam, a "desert" was used as a
description of a wilderness in the 16th-19th centuries. You'll notice in my
history books that our first 13 states were described as "deserts." Were
they describing the climate in New York or North Carolina? Absolutely not.
Desert was also used to describe lands beyond the Appalachian Mountains.
Kentucky? Tennessee? They certainly aren't "dry."So
when Brigham Young described Utah as a desert, he very well could have been
describing it as a "wilderness." Which, indeed, it was. Native Americans
weren't exactly looked at as "human inhabitants" at that time.
Alberta's absence of billboards, except on First Nation property, is in
glaring contrast to most of Utah. It's time for Utahns to take control and
not allow the outdoor advertising industry to befoul our state any longer.
It's all in the mind-set of the people using the land. Picking up your
litter is considered "extreme environmentalism" by many people who are
outside.Go spend some time where ATV users camp. That is generally where
the worst litter is.It's more mind-set than lazy. It's truly
shameful how some people think.
Drive through Vermont. You will see nothing but beauty. No billboards, no trash,
no piles of old junk, no scarred hillsides, no "Beck Streets." Utah is
the most beautiful place on earth, but the people who live here are some of the
trashiest people on earth. Irony of the Day.
Here again is a very popular incorrect perception."What started
by Brigham Young as to be a beautiful place in the desert,..."The "desert" is in Moab, St. George and Delta. Not the Wasatch
Front.Yes, Alberta is beautiful. Laws and there enforcement
(government) play a role there and here. Certainly the actions of people are
very important. Don't drop trash along roads and in your yards.The first time I visited the East Coast (Maryland) as an adult, I wondered
where do all these people live. Boulevards and mall parking lots full of cars.
Where are the houses and apartment buildings?? Often there is a forest between
the highway and the houses and apartment buildings. When the leaves fall off
the trees in the fall and winter, the "old rusted appliance in their back
yard..." may become more obvious.Not many natural trees on the
southern Alberta or Wasatch Front grasslands. People, their good and bad
activities, impact the land and community.
Thanks, Douglas. We often need reminders about the effects of our behavior. I
remember President Spencer W. Kimball reminding his fellow Mormons to keep their
yards looking nice and to avoid what he called "blight." As I drive and
walk through the neighborhoods in my area, I am concerned at the increase in
blight in many corners. It seems so many people don't care at all what
their own property looks like. I wonder what it says about us when we don't
care or, worse, don't even notice the ugliness we create through our
I agree that refuse along side a road be it interstate or two-lane is unsightly.
While temporarily here in Texhoma I have sort of adopted three walking routes
for exercise and I pick up "stuff" along the way. In a 2 mile circuit I
usually get one to three plastic shopping bags of life's flotsam and
jetsam. None of which couldn't be kept within the car until arriving at
your destination.Poor manners, lack of respect for surroundings and
the disposable food containers seem to be the major factors. With the exception
of beer and soft drink cans, most of the "stuff" I see are paper goods,
and plastic water bottles, which are everywhere due to lousy tasting water -
droughts do that to municipal water supplies, and not amenable to deposit/return
for credit control.I could go for reduction in road signage, but
just persuading people to keep their refuse in the car until they get home would
go a long way.
It could be like Phoenix where all the poor houses are close to the highway.
Gives a poor impression really but living next to a freeway is not the best
place to be. Provo was a little run down but I figured that was due to so many
students and depressed wages in the area.I saw a lot of
neighborhoods when I lived there and there are definitely some wealthy people in
Utah. But they never live right along the freeway.
A big part of making it work is a functional deposit based beverage container
recycling system. In Alberta, there is a deposit to be paid on all canned or
bottled beverages, including milk containers. This discourages them from ending
up in the waste stream, and encourages people to even collect them from
When I come home to Utah to visit I am struck by how it is one of the most
beautiful places on earth, and also one of the ugliest. What started by Brigham
Young as to be a beautiful place in the desert, has become the land of.... you
known.... I can't even come up with a word to describe it. It is like a
teenagers room... a spoiled one... who just trashes their room.Driving from the airport to Utah Valley, I ask myself could anyone have made
more a mess of things if they overtly tried... I am not sure they could have.I am not against 4 wheeling, I am not against using Utah's natural
resources. I am against unplanned development and people who stack their old
rusted appliance in their back yard. Little sense of stewardship for what the
Lord provided seems overly abundant.
In Germany when I visited there, the shopkeepers and homeowners swept the road
in front of their house or shoppe once a week. The town was pristine and
beautiful. I'm sure it contributed to our wanting to stay longer and buy
more of their goods.
well Doug, your description of our roads reminded me of what I thought of
California roads at the turn of the century. I15 is a road for all. Alberta
isn't the crossroads of anywhere in particular. So I suspect we are
not lazy, we perhaps need to be more dutiful in cleaning up our roads. Maybe
you can organize your local ward to adopt a highway, or the boy scouts. That is
typically how these matters work themselves out.
Some people [the take personal responsibility types] think "God"
is going to come down, and cleanse the Earth, Thinking that means -
cleaning up OUR mess.I couldn't disagree more.btw -
In Canada, Billboards account for "pollution" also.
Montana barely has anyone there to litter but the one that are there care about
the beauty of the area. Canada, well face it, is 100 years ahead of the US from
an organizational point of view.