The environment is under attack, mostly by human beings, some of whom live right here in Ipswich, Massachusetts.
But many people pillage and plunder the environment without realizing the damage they’re doing, so the initial challenge in protecting Mother Earth is to create awareness. If we can get people to recognize the most common ways in which they’re despoiling our precious ecosystems, we might then make some progress toward getting them to change their ways.
So I propose to bring people directly into the situations where they’re creating the most mayhem, and let them see and experience the defilement for themselves.
The plan is to launch Environmental Travesty Tours. Pay the $12 fee — $2 off if you pay in dirty, wrinkled paper money — and clamber onto our vintage diesel bus. No need for our logo on the vehicle; you’ll recognize it by the smoke it’s belching.
By the way, bring your dog with you! No leashes allowed.
We start our tour on Waldingfield Road. A recent study documented about 1,600 vehicles a day already traversing this route, but your experience will be especially meaningful. We’re going to stop repeatedly to honk at wildlife. (Noise pollution is a thing, too!)
If we encounter a seriously interesting animal — say a deer, or bald eagle — we’ll pause and idle the bus engine for as long as 4 minutes 55 seconds, just under the Massachusetts legal limit, while you disembark and attempt to shoot selfies with the animals. Those images in your iPhoto library will serve as powerful, poignant reminders of nature’s fragility, won’t they!
(Meanwhile, this is a great opportunity for your dog to take a break and relieve itself.)
At the end of the Waldingfield portion of the tour, we intend to build a very nice café (permits pending), with an eclectic variety of locally sourced dishes featuring everything except clams, due to dog poop seeping into the groundwater and poisoning the clam flats. The blank space on our menu where the clams would have appeared will make a powerful, poignant statement, won’t it!
And after lunch, be sure to bring your trash back onto the bus with you, so you can toss it somewhere along the way. We’ll be driving past a number of key sites where littering has apparently become something of a treasured New England tradition. No need to detail these locations in advance; you already know where they are — and if not, you’ll know them when you see them.
Soon we’ll be on our way to Crane Beach, where we’ll visit our piping plover petting zoo. You’ll love searching like Indiana Jones for the plovers’ nesting area. There’s nothing to compare with the thrill of this discovery, and you’re going to want to get as close as possible for this photo op!
Plus, kids get one of several great prizes based on how many of the little birdies they can catch. (Just be sure each plover chick is submitted in a landfill-clogging plastic bag, for maximum ironic effect.) In any case, every kid at least receives the basic Participation Prize: a life-size stuffed plover. It’s especially important to generate environmental awareness in the younger generation, so take this cherished prize home and keep it in a place of prominence, like maybe in the toybox. Over the years, it can be a powerful, poignant symbol to your child, as they grow into a thoughtful, responsible adult like you.
Our Environmental Travesty Tour will also include certain seasonal options, like a close encounter with seals on the beach. Set your child on the back of a seal and — wow, just you wait for the look on their face! Both their faces, the child and the seal! This is going to be a magical, memorable moment, so we recommend shooting video. Don’t worry about missing out: As our tour bus pulls out onto the beach, we’ll remind you by bullhorn to get your smartphone ready.
Additional environmental travesty encounters are still in development, so check back often. In the meantime, tell your friends! Awareness, you know?
Doug Brendel lives on, and strives to protect, 1.7 beleaguered acres on outer Linebrook Road in Ipswich. Follow his many activities, guided and misguided, via DougBrendel.com.