The Litterbug Chronicles


The Litterbug Chronicles by Melodie Yvonne Ramey

I have lived in my house just a smidge under a decade now, and I would have to say there are multiple pros and cons of having a corner lot. The corner lot is often the most coveted spot on the residential map for its easy to find location. Having half as many neighbors is also a homeowner’s dream. The undesirable aspects can sometimes be a little unnerving, however, and almost not worth the benefits. It seems that having the corner lot means that people think they are entitled to put signs in your yard, turn around in your driveway, and clean out their cars while driving by. The latter of the three things I find to be the most disgusting of the offenses. It’s easy to move a sign, and I have long grown accustomed to the fact that I don’t really have company, but seeing all the litter… Well, let’s just say at time it’s hard for me to have a lot of hope for humanity.

Day in and out I walk through my yard picking up burger wrappers and cigarette packs. I clean up other people’s dog poo, and I know exactly how many drinks that drunk driver had before he crashed a mile away. I clean all of this up, and I can’t help but wonder why. I have gotten in many arguments in the past about whether it’s worse to litter or not recycle, and I’d tar and feather the litterbug every time. I could sit all day and spout facts and figures to show why it’s wrong to litter. I could quote Shel Silverstein to emphasize my point even more with the horrors that occurred to Sarah Sylvia Cynthia Stout. I just can’t believe in my heart that I’m the only person that watched Idiocracy, and got the lesson. We are destroying our own planet, and although every single one of us knows this deep inside, we still can’t find the ability to clean our cars out by a trash can!

It’s easy to chuck a cigarette butt or ketchup packet out the window, and think, “It’s only a tiny piece of trash. What harm will that do?’ The harm is in the big picture. Never underestimate stupid people in large groups. Just think about the Nazis, the KKK, and/or upper management. What if they were all dropping a piece of trash everywhere they met, marched, or every time they walked by your work area respectively? How fast would you be drowning in leftover Burger King or Wiener schnitzel wrappers? I can tell you that if it’s at the same rate that my yard needs cleaned it would be pretty quickly.

People that know me well are aware that at times I can be a tad bit on the preachy and judgmental side. I mean I don’t feel it’s polite to talk religion and politics in public, but by God I’ll carry on about anti-littering and the like all day. Maybe people are sick of my voice. I admit I can be kinda loud. Maybe I talk too much, and it’s starting to sound like I’m crying wolf. Either way I don’t feel like this is the time to be silent. I feel like it’s time for a change in message delivery. Everyone knows a picture is worth a thousand words. What I have to say about litterbugs would take more than a million words, so I decided to speak with my camera. I’m going to start chronicling my yard clean up. Who knows, maybe later I’ll branch out. I know a lot of you out there are with me. For those of you that already understand my plea, I apologize for making you look at trash. My hope is that these photos will open some eyes. This is my yard, but it could just as easily be yours, and it pales in comparison to the trash I’ve seen thrown out in the country. I’ve seen so much of it that now I pick up trash everywhere I go. I don’t want my world to look like my yard on a Sunday morning. I hope after seeing some of these photos that no one else will either.

Without further ado I bring to you The Litterbug Chronicles…

I’m usually not thinking, “I’m loving it!” when I’m cleaning up styrofoam cups.

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These models looks soooo happy to be adorning a flat nasty cup in the dirt. I doubt that clause was part of their model release usage agreement.


Really? You couldn’t even offer to share the Oreos?

Even closing a restaurant on Sunday doesn’t help lessen the problem. Maybe the punishment for littering should be no more condiments for your nuggets!
This storm drain flows through my backyard, and often gets backed up from the trash that collects dams. I often have to clear it out to avoid street flooding. If my neighbors only knew. I only wish I had started this project a week earlier, and I would have a lovely photo of a volleyball traveling through drain.

Well, I hope these photos have been at least a little bit enlightening. Next time you’re stuck in the car, and feel like you just really need to clean it out better think twice. Of course, everyone should care about the planet, but also try to remember the poor person that has to clean up after you, and if that doesn’t get to you then think about me. Think about the fact that one day somebody like me is gonna bust out somebody like you, and nowadays word spreads fast.

So now it’s time for my final words. I’ll leave you today with the wise adage of one of my favorite childhood icons, Woodsy Owl

“Give a Hoot! Don’t Pollute!!!”

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Melodie Yvonne

Melodie Yvonne Ramey, owner, editor, & contributor at Photographic Melodie, grew up in the small southern Indiana town of North Vernon. She picked up her first camera at the young age of 5, and was immediately hooked. Every trip, even just to the local park, was turned into a fantasy scene of her own imagination that would later be turned into epic tales in word and photos.

Melodie spent her teen years learning from and mentoring under professionals such as Richard Young, John Sheckler, and The Grand Conundrum. She received an Associates of Applied Science in Visual Technologies majoring in Photography from Ivy Tech in 2002 after studying under acclaimed professors such as Hoosier photographer Darryl Jones, Jonathan Wilson, and many other masters in the field.

Melodie’s main focus has always been music photography. Growing up with photography and listening to amazing musicians inspired her dream to create visual images that made people feel the way they do when they hear the music. She wanted to help people SEE the music by capturing every magical moment of concerts that she could only dream about as she gazed into music magazines like Rolling Stone and Spin.

Melodie has done numerous jobs around the country ranging from working for bands to even being the official photographer on many southern Indiana Poker Runs. Her specialties are in nature, music, and candid event photography, as well as one of a kind photographic creations. Melodie published her first print book Photographic Memories: In the Beginning, a collection of poetry, in 2011, and has since published 2 more print works, Photographic Memories: Meet me in the Middle and Hoosier Heavens, her first photo book. Melodie currently acts as publisher, editor & lead contributor at Photographic Melodie and does freelance work with many other media outlets, venues, and artists.

Melodie says, “I started out with a Tweety bird camera and a dream and I never let go. I will always love photography and the vessel it has given me to share the images of my heart and mind with the world. I have found that every single person on this earth visualizes the world in very different ways. Some people are optimists, some are pessimists. Some people are daydreamers, and others keep their feet firmly planted on the ground. Photography allows me to show some of these different visualizations. It allows the rationalist to see that it’s okay to dream, it can show the monsters hidden in the dark, and it can show even the saddest of people that there is still joy in the world.”


  1. Elaine

    My dear little niece – I am with you right there all the way.. I don’t have a corner lot but clean up the trash that blows in from all over the neighborhood.. Sometimes it is totally necessary to wear rubber gloves over my garden gloves just to get the crap. Keep preaching the “Give a HOOT, Don’t Pollute!”

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