Thank you, little old man who picks up litter round our part of the village. You’ve taught me more about caring for the planet than any scary statistics, shouty politicians or noble environmentalists.
I used to think litter-pickers were fuddy-duddy, finger-pointing fusspots with marker pens up their bottoms. But this small man’s big heart spills all over his face. He poddles round in the early hours, before there’s anyone around to impress, with his litter stick and smile like a striplight. He stops at beer cans, sweet wrappers and tissues smeared in unmentionables, and considers them for a minute, working out his plan of attack. Then he spears them carefully, like an egret picking ticks off the back of a massive, ancient, beloved animal.
Watching him makes me feel ashamed of my indifference, protective of my ravaged, beautiful world and spurred to join his intelligence work – as long as no one’s looking with a marker pen at the ready.