Thursday, June 30, 2016

San Francisco: A Trashy Place

"A San Francisco Recreation and Park gardener's expletive-filled rant about the trash problem at Dolores Park was pulled from Facebook, but not before the SFist captured a screen grab," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. (Check out the video report as well.)

This city employee's rant does not bother me, and I certainly hope he is not reprimanded or fired for expressing his point of view.

I propose Rec & Park stop cleaning these places. If people insist on behaving like juveniles and littering everywhere, then they should suffer the consequences. San Franciscans can wake up and take some responsibility for their own city's environment, instead of acting like entitled brats who throw things everywhere and expect to have a maid pick up for them.

True, it's a collective action problem. "I'm not littering," you might whine. "Without taxpayer-funded cleaning the park is still ruined for me!" I still say let everyone fester in the garbage. Maybe you should apply a little social pressure and express opprobrium at the people who do litter and ruin it for everyone else.

Otherwise, letting Rec & Park clean up after parties is a moral hazard. Who will care if someone else always cleans up the mess?

The famed Taiwanese writer Lung Ying-tai 龍應台 wrote an essay entitled "中國人,你為什麼不生氣?" (We might loosely paraphrase it as: "Yo people, why the hell aren't you angry about a-holes who pollute and throw garbage everywhere? Shape up yourselves, and get pissed off at transgressors.")

Why is this a conversation we still need to have in the most liberal city in America, home to a crunchy granola environmental movement, with one of the highest per capita rates of electric car adoption? There seems to be a big disconnect between environmental responsibility to the planet and still letting people trash our own backyard. 舊金山市民,你為什麼不生氣?