Beyond the Beauty Strip
More Trash Talk
By Tamia Nelson
July 3, 2012
Nobody admits to getting off on garbage. Well, nobody I know, anyway. But if your backcountry haunts are anything like my home waters, you just can't get away from it. With apologies to the Troggs, garbage is now all around us. And no, I'm not talking about the Big Issues here: huge gyres of eternal plastic waste swirling ceaselessly in the mid‑Pacific, endless tailbacks of creeping cars belching carbon dioxide, methane clouds bubbling up from thawing permafrost, gender‑benders dumped in lakes and streams insidiously transforming bull gators into meek momma's boys… These things all have profound implications for the continued well‑being of our own species, of course, but they are (mostly) invisible. So we find them easy to ignore.
And I'm ignoring them, too. Instead, I'm talking ordinary, everyday trash. It's right there for all of us to see and (often) smell. In your face and up your nose. Like I just said, it's all around us. Still, when I allowed my feelings on the subject to spill over onto these virtual pages a while back, I figured the column would elicit little or no response. Or, if anyone did bother to write, the letter would likely be something of this sort: "Eww! Why do you have to talk about such negative stuff, anyway? If you can't say something nice…"
I'd have understood that. I'd even have sympathized with the writer. I don't enjoy talking trash all that much, to be honest. Given my druthers, I'd rather natter on chirpily about sleek boats, glorious sunsets, singing birds, and dancing waters. Who wouldn't?
Of course, the garbage would still be there, whether I talked about it or not, and as I explained in my earlier column, I haven't learned the Art of Not Seeing. Nor am I interested in trying. So the bile that rises in my gullet whenever I confront the trashing of my home waters eventually bubbled out into virtual print, though when Farwell asked me about it, I confidently predicted I'd be talking to myself. But I was wrong. The article generated a lot of mail — the most mail I can remember around a column, not to mention the longest letters. And I don't think a single writer took me to task for my negativity. Quelle surprise, as they say on the Champs‑Élysées.
Well, I asked for it, didn't I? Yes, I did. My column concluded with these words:
Have you ever revisited a favorite spot in the backcountry, only to find it transformed into a passable imitation of a poorly managed landfill? That's been happening more and more often to me these days. Now I'm wondering if it's just a local phenomenon, or if the problem's bigger. The upshot? I've spent this week talking trash. Let's hope that it's just the start of a long and productive conversation.
Not that I expected anyone to take me up on the implied invitation. But since so many folks did, I figured it was incumbent on me to keep the conversation going, so to speak, especially as my correspondents made it abundantly clear that the trashing of woods and waters wasn't simply a local problem, confined to my corner of the northern Adirondacks. I got mail from folks all across the continent. I even got letters from foreign parts, places where I'd imagined that things like picking up the garbage were better organized than they are here in Liberty Hall.
Anyway, here goes: A small sampling of the mail I received, reprinted by the kind permission of the writers. And just to prove I'm not wedded to negativity, I'm going to begin on a positive note, with the words of a man who does a good deal more than point with alarm. In fact, he takes the direct approach:
Picking Up Other People's Garbage
And thereby leaving his favorite places looking a little tidier than they were before he stopped by.
I enjoyed your article on trash. Or perhaps I was disgusted. Generally, it's incomprehensible to me that people view the world as their trash can. But some do. That's why, when I hike or kayak, I make it a point to leave things a little cleaner than when I arrived. Perhaps the strangest item I retrieved on a kayak trip was one of those stick‑like pregnancy tests.
Last Saturday, seven of us were paddling on a small lake in Stafford County, Virginia, and I headed off course to retrieve some floating trash. Another paddler followed and we talked about what I was doing. I explained that I try to leave the place a little cleaner than I found it. By the end of the paddle she had collected more trash than had I. I think she was converted.
It's true. Setting a good example can make a difference. And I have to admit that Brian's letter did just that, very close to home — with me. For many years, Farwell and I toted out other people's trash. I have vivid memories of lugging a couple of large garbage bags full of cans and bottles across unmaintained portages in northern Québec, cans and bottle we'd quarried from an otherwise idyllic campsite. We also spent an entire week on our hands and knees digging out several generations' worth of broken bottles from a local portage trail. But after a while we decided that cleaning up seemed to make things worse. When we revisited the places where we'd done a little backcountry tidying, they were often in worse shape than they had been before we'd taken out the garbage. Our conclusion? A lot of the good citizens of Millet* took particular pleasure in trashing virgin sites.
Were we right? I don't know. But I do know that our rather bleak assessment of human nature got us off the hook. So for a long time we left others' garbage where we found it, telling ourselves that we'd be wasting our time lugging it out. Brian's letter has forced us to do a rethink, however, and we've gone back to our old ways, cleaning up after others again. Who says a writer can't make a difference, eh?
And now that we're picking up other people's trash once more, we can't help drawing conclusions from what we find. One observation that's struck us repeatedly (and forcefully) is …
The Apparent Correlation Between Motorized Sport and Garbage
Or as Farwell likes to summarize it, "Garbage out, garbage in." To put it another way, the more garbage that goes out a sportsman's exhaust, the more trash he's likely to leave behind in the woods and waters. Or she is. I've seen little evidence to suggest that the female of the species is one whit more fastidious than the male, especially when she's at the controls of an internal combustion engine. Is this unflattering portrait of ATV drivers and other ICEmen† unfair? Well, I haven't located a definitive study on the subject, but I've seen enough with my own eyes to convince me that the indictment is broadly accurate. The problem — and it is a problem — certainly goes well beyond the apocryphal "few bad apples." And that's the conclusion reached by some of my correspondents, too, among them Rick Waldron:
My wife and I have been paddling all over Maine for years. What we see is a direct relationship between the amount of trash at a primitive, unmaintained campsite and the ease in getting to that campsite. Campsites accessible by four‑wheel‑drive vehicles are the worst, followed by those accessible by power boats. Campsites used exclusively by canoeists and kayakers are almost always spotless. Campsites maintained by the State of Maine or North Maine Woods have much less trash, but one can still see differences based on the ease of access. Years ago on a Boy Scout trip, we removed two 30‑gallon trash bags filled with used shotgun shells, bottles, cans, diapers and assorted other trash from a small island on Scraggly Lake.
Thanks for writing the article.
Clearly, Rick is pretty much of a mind with Farwell and me, though I'm not prepared to give no‑octane travelers an entirely clean bill of health. I've seen some mighty ugly campsites in places well beyond the reach of any motor vehicle. I also understand that the upper reaches of Mount Everest are now carpeted in trash, and I don't think anyone's managed to drive an ATV up the world's highest mountain yet. Still, what I've seen elsewhere convinces me that a high correlation exists between preferred recreational modality and the propensity to litter. (Need a quick translation? No problem: Garbage out, garbage in.)
This isn't the whole story, of course. Something that's often true of affairs of the heart is also true of garbage:
Cities collect people, and people make garbage. Lots of people, lots of garbage. The two go hand in hand. And the closer a backcountry enclave is to a big city, the more likely it is to be trashed. At least that's the conclusion of one reader, and I'm inclined to agree with her. But why not let her make the case for herself?
I am originally from New York, but I have lived in Wisconsin for almost 40 years. When I had to visit New York every few months to check on my elderly Dad a few years ago, I was appalled as the train went through Albany. The cut that the tracks went through (in a neighborhood of large, well‑kept houses) had been used as a dumping ground for many years. There were several feet of trash — leaves and grass clippings, but also car parts, old lawnmowers, big plastic toys, old plastic tarps, black plastic garbage bags, and more. It was like that behind every house!
Along the rural roads I remembered as being clean in my childhood, there were discarded refrigerators, dryers, tires, black plastic garbage bags, and so on. I know they have rural trash pick‑up. I had to pay my Dad's bills for the service. I had to put out his trash and take large pieces to the recycling center. There was a local charity that was happy to take useable items. The infrastructure is there.
As children, my cousins and I used to check my uncle's miles of road frontage for dumped garbage and go through it looking for bills or magazines for names and addresses, and then we'd call the police. There were anti‑littering laws even then, and the police enforced them. In Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fines people for dumping, and even puts cameras on trails where there is a problem. These problems don't last long. Groups are encouraged to "Adopt a Highway." For many years I worked at a nursing home that cleaned up a stretch of highway miles from their facility. They asked employees to donate their time to clean it up as needed, and they got volunteers. Churches do this, Scout troops do it, schools do it, businesses do it, families do it.
Our canoe club picks up anything that's not "natural" when we paddle, and we have picked up a lot of stuff over the years. One time I balanced a large octagonal picnic table on my canoe and paddled it back to the landing. We have seen the DNR out in a johnboat picking up larger items. Much of this stuff washed downriver in floods.
Generally speaking, there is not much trash once you get away from urban areas. There are too many people in New York who think that this is the way the world should be — covered in their trash. They have to learn to not foul their own nest first, then to pick up after others, then to teach the others (with fines if necessary) to dispose of their trash properly.
Carol has a point, as I think you'll agree. And her argument is more nuanced than I implied in my introduction to her letter. To be sure, the amount of trash in the backcountry is, in part, determined by the proximity of large urban centers, but other elements enter into the equation, too. As Carol notes, some states — and many communities — tolerate trash. Others don't. And New York, sad to say, falls on the permissive end of this shabby scale. What can I say? We New Yorkers must like our filth. We like it so much that we want to be surrounded by it at all times, even when we're on vacation in the backcountry. I don't include myself among these New Yorkers, obviously, but there's little doubt in my mind that I'm in a minority, even though the nearest thing to a big city is on the other side of the Adirondacks from my home.
What's the remedy? I'm damned if I know. Carol has many good ideas — anti‑littering laws, clean‑up days, adopt‑a‑highway schemes, and the like — but we already have all these things where I live, and they make little apparent difference. Clearly, some sort of attitude adjustment is needed. How is this to be accomplished, though? That's the question, isn't it? I wish I had the answer. For now, New York's solution to its growing trash problem boils down to hiding the garbage behind an increasingly threadbare beauty strip. Too bad.
Having trashed my fellow New Yorkers in the name of tough love, I'm now going to risk defaming another group, one even dearer to my heart:
The Brotherhood of the Angle
That phrase comes from The Compleat Angler, Izaak Walton's 17th‑century guide to the gentle art of angling, a book long celebrated as a classic of pastoral literature. And so it is, even if some parts — I'm thinking of Walton's vivid account of an expedition to slaughter a family of river otters — are more Grand Guignol than pastoral idyll. In any case, since the good old, bad old days of otter kills and horsehair lines, anglers have played leading roles in conservation movements around the world, working to protect countless watersheds and the sport fisheries they support. How then to account for the "slob fisherman"? Suffice it say that he (or she) is much in evidence. Lethal snares of monofilament drifting in streams or hanging from tree limbs, piles of fly‑blown garbage left to rot in the sun at fishing access sites, lead split‑shot sinkers by the tens of millions abandoned in weedy shallows to poison waterfowl… The list goes on and on and on. It seems that the gentle art still has a darker side.
This is another area where I wondered if my own observations were atypical, but a letter from John Neal made it clear that I wasn't alone:
I appreciated your recent article about the trashing of the outdoors and want to say that it is a problem here in Maine, as well. I submit that our culture of instant gratification and delayed consequences (look at the credit card debt issue, for example) reinforces the notion that we have the right to just throw it away as soon as we are done with it. Because we in Maine have a returnable bottle law which pays a nickel or so for each beverage container returned, there are fewer of those in the woods than there otherwise might be — which is not to say you never see them, of course. But for me, the worst offenders are the fishermen, who leave their little plastic bait tubs and tangles of fishing line everywhere they go.
That struck a chord. Even when I despaired of cleaning up after others, I picked up every bit of monofilament I found in my travels. I count many wildlife rehabbers among my friends, and they'd all be happy to see the stuff banned. But no one really expects that to happen, and slob fishermen will continue to scatter lethal tangles in their wake, leaving the already overstretched (and underbudgeted) network of rehabbers to help the gravely injured survivors as best they can. It's a sorry legacy for a sport that is often celebrated for its conservation‑mindedness.
John's letter didn't end by condemning angling trash, however. He, too, has wrestled with the Samaritan dilemma: Is it a good idea to pick up after the slobs, or is it better to leave the trash where you found it? And he, too, has reached the same conclusion as Brian Deering:
I have another thought on the subject, if I may: Robin and I certainly do see the litter that is to be seen whenever we go paddling, but we often do not have the trash bags and rubber gloves on hand to take care of it when we see it, or we are paddling kayaks instead of the tandem canoe and have no room to transport it, and so we sadly and disgustedly pass right by it, just like everyone else. Let's face it, a lot of that stuff is just plain gross, and I do not want to touch it! At least, not without adequate protection. So, here's another question for the 21st‑century outdoorsperson: Is it now part of the outdoor ethos to bring the means to carry out other people's trash along with our own? I guess part of me rebels at this thought, feeling like "why should I have to clean up somebody ELSE'S mess?" But then again, if I want to use the outdoors, shouldn't I have some responsibility for maintaining it, even when that involves doing for others what they should want to do themselves? Thorny question, that. Because, of course, by cleaning up their mess, I give myself a pristine place to paddle. Maybe it comes down to a spiritual perspective: That we, the land, and others are all one thing, and whatever any one of us does to support the land and protect the wilderness, we do for the wilderness, others, and for ourselves.
I don't think I could improve on these words. And I find the argument as compelling as the language. That's one reason I've gone back to hauling out other people's garbage.
So far, we've only had a North American perspective, with special emphasis on Maine, where they seem to think more (and harder) about these questions than do, say, New Yorkers. But …
The Problem of Trash Is a Global One
As this letter from the Netherlands makes clear:
Amen, unfortunately. Straight from the heart, straight to the heart. So recognisable, so well penned down, so — regrettably — ignored by those who should take it to heart. Sigh.
Not that you need it, but I can confirm that the problem is not limited to your neck of the woods. It's amazing how easily and thoughtlessly the human race fouls its own nest. What strikes me (as it did you) is that people don't mind carrying pounds of food and drink into the wild, yet refuse to carry out only ounces of packaging. I've heard people argue that there are "people employed to clean up after me so why should I bother?" In other words, the mess is handled by civil servants paid for by my tax money so I'm "entitled" to litter. Extremely peculiar, to put it mildly.
Please keep up the good work and keep writing about these things.
Imagine that! Employing people — yes, paying them — to clean up the backcountry. No red‑blooded American would countenance such a gross waste of taxpayer dollars. We'd much rather rely entirely on the on‑again, off‑again efforts of unpaid volunteers. Yet as Martin's letter suggests, each approach leaves something to be desired. And the trash continues to pile up along trails and waterways in both countries.
Actually, I'm exaggerating a bit when I paint my picture of the American modus operandi. New York does in fact pay a few people to pick up the garbage, at least along some roads. A local radio station ran a story about them only the other week, in which a Department of Transportation crew boss expressed astonishment at (1) the magnitude of the trash problem along lightly traveled rural byways, and (2) the terrifying indifference shown by many motorists to the safety of his workers. He doesn't ride a bike, obviously, or neither of these would have come as a surprise. We cyclists engage the licensed‑to‑kill brigade in unequal contest every day. And we get up close and personal with all the trash, too.
This disturbing vision of ever‑increasing mountains of garbage immediately raises an important question: Where does it all come from? And …
The Answer, of Course, Is… Us
All of us. We can't throw away what we don't acquire, can we? Not according to Greg:
I have always thought about trash and how many people either don't think about what they throw out, or they justify the situation. I can't think of hauling some needed substance full, then discarding the empty. But there sure are a lot of people that think that is OK. People who fish I rank as top polluters, always lots of trash at fishing access on river clean‑up day. Not far behind are our friends in whitewater kayaks, and it seems the more extreme the paddler, the greater the trash.
Whatever, fingers can be pointed in any direction. In the interest of thinking GLOBALLY and acting LOCALLY, I forward a suggestion I heard once. You can be an observer or a doer. I always carry a couple of those terrible grocery store plastic bags in a pocket (no weight, no volume). And I pick up trash along my walking routes and when I am paddling. To gripe about it and do nothing will not help.
I was in Grand Staircase–Escalente National Monument, at Hole‑in‑the‑Rock. At the finish of my hike and explorations — even dipping my hand into Lake Foul (I mean Powell!) — I was ready to leave and a party was letting their kids drive golf balls into the slickrock. I tried a lighthearted approach in my reproach. Other than stopping the activity there was no other action. So I walked out into the slickrock and retrieved over a dozen balls, staying at it until they left.
Our country is about trash. Extraction industry, our throwaway society, add about anything you want to the list. I doubt anything can be done to bring a thoughtless trash producer to the altar of pristine land‑use. But we can pick up after them. If it is true that those who litter are a minority, and the rest of us were policing user sites, we could have a big impact on the land that we love.
So the finger points back at us as well as outward. Ours is a consumer society, after all, and consumption is never totally clean. It always entails waste. Waste in production. Waste in packaging and transport. And "natural" wastage in use. Things wear out. They get eaten. Or left in the back of the fridge to spoil. Or we simply get tired of them. Then we throw whatever remains away. Or we sell it to someone else, who, sooner or later, dumps anything that's left in the trash. Or at the edge of the road.
In other words, Waste is Us. It's not a comfortable thought, I know. But the conclusion is, I think, inescapable. I've also wondered about another point that Greg raises: the variations in attitudes toward littering among participants in no‑octane sports. Greg suggest that "our friends in whitewater kayaks" are among the slobs. This hasn't been my experience. Most of the whitewater boaters I know are a pretty tidy bunch. But the spectators at popular viewing spots are not, and groups of rafters — particularly along routes that see heavy commercial rafting traffic — do considerable damage simply by virtue of their numbers, no matter how well shepherded they are by their guides. And this, in turn, serves to emphasize that there are two variables in the impact equation: per‑person impacts and aggregate numbers. While a single slob can do as much damage as 100 conscientious backcountry travelers, 1000 "good guys" still have the impact of 10 slobs. In other words, no matter how careful we are as individuals, as our numbers increase, the damage that we do — this includes everything from trail erosion, to watershed contamination, to the litter created by the items we lose in camp — also increases in lockstep.
The upshot? To borrow a line from Pogo, we've met the enemy, and he is us. Like I said, it's not a comfortable thought.
Maybe you're unhappy playing the villain's role in the epic saga of despoliation. Me, too. So let's shift the spotlight away from our own culpability for a minute, and direct it at …
The Vandals Among Us
You probably remember the Vandals from a world history course. They were, in the words Garrison Keillor used to describe the denizens of Millet, "rough, crude people." At least that's the reputation they've been lumbered with. And in the year 455, they sacked the city of Rome, putting paid to one of history's longest‑running and most successful games of Empire. In truth, however, the Vandals have had a bad press — everything we know about them was written by their enemies, after all — but that didn't stop their name from finding its way into the language as a handy tag to label anyone who engaged in wantonly destructive acts. And their descendants, their spiritual kin, if you will, are still with us:
Trash upsets me, but some of the other things going on — both on the trails I travel and the waterways I paddle — make me very angry. I volunteer as a Land Steward for property that belongs to a large conservation organization in my New England state. A year and a half ago, a group had a beer party at a camp on the property that stood for 75 years. Not only did they leave a dozen bags of trash, but they burned the cabin down! People add their own trail markers and cut trees where they feel like it. On a nearby mountain that belongs to the same organization, the state leases the trails and has a big problem with people filling in trail water bars. (A water bar is a reinforced ditch, log, or stone culvert built at an angle to a trail to direct water off the trail's surface.) People move trail signs around and try to install benches. They also pile brush in the trail and force people to bushwhack, spreading the trail out. Not to mention the trash. Most trash is fairly easy to pick up, but building new water bars takes a lot more time and labor.
I don't have a short answer to the problem. I think its roots go back generations to a time when people were told by the Bible that they have dominion over the land and all that lives on earth. But the people who wrote the Bible forgot to mention that we need to take care of the earth[, and this omission had far‑reaching consequences] — or else we would have public transportation, fewer roads, old farms still in production, and pristine waters that aren't dumps. In a conversation I had with the former head ranger of the local state park, people seemed to think the trash would just go away. And they were proud that they help with the trails by filling in the water bars and making the trail smoother. What we need is education starting in the first grade.
The picture Bart paints is all too familiar. The vandals are at work in my neck of the woods, as well. But I'll have to part company with him on one point, a contention which, if taken at face value, is certain to fan the flames of controversy. It's true that some have condemned what writer and philosopher Peter Marshall characterizes as "the devastating ecological legacy of mainstream Christianity," and then gone on to ascribe our singularly cavalier attitude toward environmental degradation to Christian — or more broadly, Judeo‑Christian — teachings. But this ignores the fact that many passionate environmentalists are also deeply committed Christians, whose faith inspires and informs their feeling of oneness with the natural world. So I'd need a lot of convincing before I'd lay the blame for the trash on my doorstep at the feet of the "people who wrote the Bible." I doubt that this was Bart's intention, anyway. Like most great teachings, the words of the Bible are subject to interpretation, and not all interpretations are benign. Scoundrels (and vandals) seek support wherever they can find it. To borrow a line from another work, roughly contemporary with the King James Version of the Bible, "The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose," a strategy which works equally well for the schemers and scammers among us. I suspect that Bart had these folks in mind.
In any event, there is one vital point on which he and I are in complete agreement, and that's …
The Importance of Education
Respect for the land requires something more than an appreciation of its economic return, though in our increasingly crowded, hungry world, that, too, is important. (What's the dollar value of clean water? Ask someone dying of cholera.) Ric Olsen speaks directly to this concern:
Great article. I read something the other evening: "With freedom comes great danger." We live in a care‑less society because we have so much freedom. We do things "because we can," and for no other reason. How do we reinvent the value of Nature? That is a monumental task. Part of that is reinventing education. With education comes an understanding of the value of intangible things like Nature. Education can put the "Wild" back in Wilderness and awaken the desire for preservation. The result of video games and TV is the isolation of the child from Nature. Most people nowadays do not know what to do or how to act when in the out‑of‑doors. Ignorance is paramount.
Ric is onto something here. When our virtual lives become more interesting than real life, we have less time to spare for the physical world of air and earth and water. Of course, we can't ignore the health of that world forever, because we depend upon it for life itself. But that bill won't come due for a while. In the meantime, how many children get the chance to explore the real world on their own today? Very few. Almost everyone now lives in fear of "stranger danger," it seems, and most roads aren't safe places for anyone who isn't protected by a metal cage. So parents keep their kids on a very short lead. It's a problem that transcends national boundaries. The result? A kid's world shrinks to the size of her computer screen.
Is there any way to push back her horizons? As Ric and Bart both suggest, education is one answer. Perhaps the only one. Or to put it another way, it's time to …
Spread the Word
That's one purpose of this column. Of course, I write for adults, and I'm realistic enough to know that I mostly preach to the already converted. Still, I hope my words occasionally reach others. At least one reader thought they might, and he even offered to help:
So good and timely. Maybe we could get this article posted at every trailhead in America. I will do my part. Thank you.
I couldn't be happier. Than again, trailhead signboards are routinely ignored. And there's an even better way to get the message across — through example. Teaching by doing is a good strategy for bridging the generation gap, too. Words are but wind, after all. Shakespeare said that, though the prophet Jeremiah anticipated him. But …
Actions Speak Volumes
And a group of like‑minded paddlers in the Pacific Northwest are raising their voices in a way that no one could misunderstand:
Check out our project on our Out of Sight, Out of Mind (OSOM) blog, our Facebook page, and on Twitter. This should make you feel a little better about encountering trash while paddling. We enjoyed your article on Paddling.net and will share it on our media.
The Out of Sight, Out of Mind blog is the brainchild of Jason Self, Shay Bickley, and Chris Bensch, and their mission statement couldn't be plainer: "Just pick it up!" I can't think of a more uplifting note to end on, can you?
Who likes trash talk? Not me. But the subject won't go away. Which is why I've returned to it. This time around, however, I've got a little — no, make that a lot of — help. And that's a very good thing. Because big problems demand big solutions. So, what's stopping you? Are you ready to join your fellow paddlers and get down and dirty with the garbage carpeting our trails and shorelines? I hope so. Short of sitting on the board of an investment bank, there's no better way to clean up.
* You've probably heard of Millet, though you won't find it on any map. Garrison Keillor memorably described it as a place inhabited by the descendants of folks who "came to the New World to get drunk and throw away their garbage." 'Nuff said?
Related Articles From In the Same Boat
- "Beyond the Beauty Strip — Ethics and Environment"
- "Keep It Clean! Practical Ecology for Paddlers"
- "When It's Not a Good Idea to Look the Other Way"
- "A Tangled Web: Monofilament, Deadly Deceiver"
- "Talking Trash"
- "Straight Poop on Backcountry Sanitation"
- "Wetsuits, Drysuits, and Calls of Nature"
- "A Little Light Relief: Fundamental Issues"
And from my own website:
- "Beyond the Beauty Strip"
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