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Letters: Are the people in Idaho and Utah lazy?

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  • redshirt007 tranquility base, 00
    Sept. 3, 2013 12:06 a.m.

    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.

  • LDS Tree-Hugger Farmington, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 1:29 a.m.

    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.

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 6:16 a.m.

    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.

  • Hamath Omaha, NE
    Sept. 3, 2013 6:23 a.m.

    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.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Sept. 3, 2013 8:10 a.m.

    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.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 8:16 a.m.

    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 roadsides.

  • redshirt007 tranquility base, 00
    Sept. 3, 2013 8:19 a.m.

    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.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 8:47 a.m.

    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.

  • Wanda B. Rich Provo, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 9:31 a.m.

    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 neglect.

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 9:33 a.m.

    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.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Sept. 3, 2013 9:38 a.m.

    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.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 9:53 a.m.

    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.

  • casual observer Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 10:30 a.m.

    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.

  • FreedomFighter41 Provo, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 10:40 a.m.

    @ William Gronberg

    William, 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.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Sept. 3, 2013 11:05 a.m.

    "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 state.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 11:52 a.m.

    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 states.

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 12:29 p.m.

    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.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 12:58 p.m.

    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 $$$.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 1:14 p.m.

    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 that).

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 1:26 p.m.

    WOW ! Hard to come up with a more exaggerated comparisons.

    “Utah reminds me too much of Tiajuana, Somalia, or New Delhi.”

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Sept. 3, 2013 1:27 p.m.

    @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....

  • markmongie Kaysville, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 1:44 p.m.

    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!

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 2:19 p.m.

    @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.

  • lynn Roosevelt, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 2:24 p.m.

    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.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 3:20 p.m.

    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."

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Sept. 3, 2013 3:25 p.m.

    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.

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    Sept. 3, 2013 5:07 p.m.

    @ SG

    The 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.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Sept. 4, 2013 1:51 p.m.

    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.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Sept. 4, 2013 6:00 p.m.

    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.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 4, 2013 6:04 p.m.

    Its so cold in Alberta people don't spend that much time outside littering or much of anything else.

  • Thinkin\' Man Rexburg, ID
    Sept. 4, 2013 9:20 p.m.

    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.