Polluting the environment is not just a matter of parts per million in the air or water. When a person dumps a toxin into a field or stream or any natural area, they are showing that they lack respect and have disdain for the natural environment. They are saying the equivalent of “I don’t care about you” to the web of life that lives there. To me, this is deeply offensive and equal to the actual physical harm caused by toxic or chemical pollution.
I find it offensive because nature and the earth are the source of all of our resources and all of our energy and all of the settings we choose to live in and experience. Life would not exist if not for the balance of ecosystems on the planet; nor would it exist without a unique blend of elements in the earth’s crust and in the atmosphere that makes the planet livable. Even if you assume that God created the universe and created humans at some point, it still holds true that we depend on the Earth for all things and we will be better off if we take care of natural resources and promote the long term health of the planet.
Each person who sees or smells or feels pollution under their feet can get depressed and can become more disassociated from the natural world each time they experience it as ugly and dirty and unwelcoming. For people who were born and grew up in large cities, they may not have ever become comfortable with nature, and this is tragic. However, even worse is to grow up at war with nature and to continue the fight into adulthood and to take that animosity to the grave. In that instance you, your children, your family and all those you touched will bring that sense of opposition into the future, and it will shape interactions with the natural world for years to come.