Sunday, January 2, 2011

Camping Chairs.

Warning: Completely Crazy Rant to follow. 

This morning I saw something which made me mad. Perhaps even more than mad, it made me feel a bit sick, and really disappointed in humanity. And all of these horrible feelings sprung from some camping chairs.

Hundreds (maybe thousands?) of camping chairs to be more specific. 

This week sees the population of our Small City increase by half, with an influx of Enthusiastic Party People coming to see in the New Year. Which is great - it's good for the local economy, the 20 000 or so visitors are having a good time (grouchy people like me who can't be bothered with the once a year traffic jam caused by the queue to the McD's drive through just stay out of the city!), happiness, festivity & all. 

Anyhow, come January 1st the majority of our guests pack up & leave, the petrol stations taking over from where McDonalds left off, with traffic jams as people fill up for the long & windy road out of here (although, as we noted, some don't make it all the way out of town before stopping for a compulsory 'vomit on the side of the road' stop!). 

Maybe 'Pack up & Leave' is a little ambiguous...this morning as we were going to our fave playground, we came into town past the camping ground where 13 000 or so visitors have spent the last few days. The first thing we saw as we approached, was a mountain of camping chairs (like the one above!) the size of a stack of cars - maybe three long & two or three high. A mountain of camping chairs? Really? And they hadn't finished collecting all of the camping chairs - there were still hundreds (literally hundreds) scattered around the abandoned camp sites.

When people leave this particular camping ground, they don't pack up like you would if you were in a normal camping ground, or out in the wilderness somewhere. The old saying 'Take only photographs, leave only footprints' ? These folks don't even take their tents, let alone their rubbish. Or their camping chairs. 

I couldn't find a good spot to take a photo, or you would see what I mean. There are loads of rubbish bins on the reserve (it's usually a sports field), but what remains after the people have gone home is a space where their tent obviously stood (unless they're part of the extremely peculiar group who don't even bother to take that home), surrounded by beer cans, v cans, random rubbish, sausage wrappers, McDonalds rubbish, cigarette name it, it's there. Random pieces of clothing, towels, and those bloody camping chairs (excuse the language...). 

When I was in the Large Red Shop the other day, I saw a stack of camping chairs right in the middle of the store, for maybe $10 each. Not the flashest chairs, but they'd sure last more than one or two days use. 

What on earth has the world come to if we're buying a chair (or a few thousand chairs) to use for a few days, then ditching it in a camping ground. Where are all of those chairs going to go? I don't think the (amazingly awesome) groups who fund raise by cleaning up the disaster area are going to sit there dismantling the chairs & sorting them into metal, plastic & fabric to attempt to recycle them. And as for a tent? How many people in the world would give anything to have a dry place to shelter, or a chair? 

Anyhow, what it all comes down to is my total mortification that people think it's okay to stay somewhere, trash it completely, leave untold amounts of rubbish behind instead of putting it in the bin (or even near the bin, if it's full!), and leave tents & chairs behind, to be thrown into landfill. It sucks. I could go on forever about putting things in landfill & how stupid it is, and how we need to take personal responsibility for this earth we live on, but I have a feeling I'm preaching to the choir. I don't imagine the tent & chair & trash abandoners are among my followers. 

I don't know if the fabulous cleaning up people are reading either - but I want to say how great it was to see families trekking down towards the mess, gumboots on, ready to make our city look like it did before. Thank you, cleaning up people. When we were down at the beach our little family did a little part, and cleared up broken glass, and stray cans & bottles from the sand dunes - hopefully that's one less little kid going to get a cut foot this week. 

Anyhow, next time you're thinking of chucking out a functional camping chair, imagine that mountain. Perhaps there's something else you could do with it instead.

Rant over :) Have a most wonderful day! 


  1. Take a photo and send it to the herald. That's appalling.

  2. I wish I had, it was just obscene. I think if I went down there once Jarvis wakes up I'd be too late, those cleaning crews are amazing. When we were there this morning I think the shock of it stopped me from taking a photo, as though it might burn a big hole in my camera with its ugliness...

  3. I have no words....that is totally insane

  4. What the...? I'm shocked at that. I imagine those kind of people can drink ten times the $10 that chair cost in a night and not think a thing of it. And here's me worrying about having to throw away a single airbed with a busted bung which can't be replaced!

  5. Wow. Not only does that make me completely annoyed too, but on top of the environmental/waste impact, I would like to add that those chairs can only be sold so cheaply because somewhere in the world, other human beings (who have lives, families and feelings) are being exploited and paid 2 cents an hour to make those chairs so that irresponsible campers can buy their 'disposable' camping chairs and use them for a night or two. Think how different the day after New Year's might have turned out if those chairs cost, say, $45 a piece - no one would leave them behind (except maybe the people that owned that tent?) and perhaps the people who made them in the first place could be given a raise!

  6. Oh no! That's utterly shocking! I'd be ranting too - will share this post and Twitter it too... hope someone, somewhere reads it and feels guilty and changes their ways!

  7. it's sad that we live in such a throw-away society. One of my aims this year is to repair instead of replace - products may be cheap at the Big Red Shed BUT like LKC said at what cost? I wonder how many other camp grounds have the very same issue

  8. It never occurred to me that people would do that. We've just been camping ourselves, and can report that the focus on leave-nothing-but-footprints is still strong in some areas. Poor Sweeney's little-boy-sized camping chair is rickety and frayed and proabably never getting thrown away ...

  9. Yeah I am totally incensed after reading this. What is the world coming to when people think it is in any way OK to do this!!!! It is awesome that so many people out there are willing to put things right, but they shouldn't have to!

  10. Thanks everyone for the brilliant comments - good to know it's not just me that is driven crazy by this stuff.

    I've asked around & the church group who clean up do salvage anything that isn't wrecked (unfortunately the wrecked stuff outweighs the decent stuff by a hundred to one...), so at least some of it is making it off the reserve to continue a useful existence.

    Totally with you, Vintage Mum, that's going to be one of my goals too. It's a terrible thing that our society has become so disposable, and that many things are actually very difficult to repair. Grrrr...

    Thanks again, lovely people! :) xx