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Pogo the Possum and The First Earth Day

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Walt Kelly’s Pogo Earth Day Poster is courtesy of Community Alliance.

The very first Earth Day was in 1970. On the first Earth Day a famous comic strip character named Pogo helped to call attention to Earth Day with this famous poster that was done by Walt Kelly.

Pogo was the main character of a daily comic strip created by Walt Kelly. For many years, Walt Kelly wrote and drew a daily comic strip about animals that lived in the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. Pogo the Possum was one of the main characters in the strip. Walt Kelly used his characters as a means to show political satire.

The poster has the quote, “We have met the enemy and he is us,” by Pogo. Underneath the trees, the ground is filled with trash that only people could have left behind. This is the reason that he says, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
Pogo has a stick and bag and is starting to pick up the trash that is all around him. Just as Pogo is working to fix the damage done by others and make the Earth a better place, we can follow his example and do the same.
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Alligator
I recently visited the Okefenokee Swamp. My husband and I took a 90 minute boat ride into the swamp. There were many cypress trees. None were over about 90 years old due to logging in the swamp before it became a National Wildlife Refuge. We saw and got to handle some of the peat that makes up the bottom and peat islands of the swamp. Peat is formed when the vegetation falls into the water and due to the acidic composition of the water it does not decay very rapidly at all, so it becomes peat. It is very spongy. The is why the native Americans called it the Land of the Trembling Earth. There was a lot of Spanish Moss hanging in the trees. In the swamp were a few islands of land where people could live. There are over 20,000 alligators and over 600 black bear in the swamp.

In the late 1800’s, a person bought up the Swamp and wanted to drain it and make farm land. He formed the Suwannee Canal Company and started digging a huge canal that would link into the St. Mary’s River and the Suwannee River. He went bankrupt and the canal was never completed. That canal is used today by the tour boat I was riding to show visitors the swamp. After the bank foreclosed on the land, it was sold to the Hebard Cypress Company, a timber company who harvested most all of the several hundred year old huge several foot diameter cypress trees. That is why on the boat tour, you only see trees that are less that a foot in diameter. The alligators would hiss at the boat if it got too close, but did not try to attack the boat. The tour guide said the alligators will hiss and eventually run away because people do not feed them. If people feed them, the alligators become very aggressive. I saw very aggressive alligators when I toured the Louisiana Bayou.

We walked down a man made boardwalk that was about a foot off of the surface of the swamp. The boardwalk went three quarters of a mile into the swamp. Looking down from the boardwalk, we were able to see many snakes, and a few turtles. We saw a water moccasin right beside the boardwalk. There was a 4 story fire tower at the end of the boardwalk. The view from it was amazing. I was able to look over the wetlands and see several water birds in the distance.

I am glad that I was able to visit the swamp and see all of the wildlife and vegetation of this unique ecosystem. I saw many alligators, water birds, and snakes, even though I did not see an opossum like Pogo the Possum.

In 1971, Walt Kelly did a famous Earth Day comic strip that featured Pogo.
Pogo Comic Strip Earth Day
Pogo comic strip courtesy of Michael Sporn Animation

In this comic strip, Pogo and Porky Pine are walking in the swamp and are walking over a lot of trash left behind by humans. Porky Pine says to Pogo, “It is hard walkin on this stuff” and Pogo

answers, “Yes, son, we have met the enemy and he is us.”

Let’s do our part and be a friend to the Earth, instead of an enemy.

If you enjoyed this post, please visit my blog Between the Pages. I’ll be featuring Earth Day themed Cakes and Cookies for the next few days.

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I’m (Insert Well-Known ’80s Celebrity Name), and That’s…One to Grow On!

The 1980s were a glorious time of cartoons that didn’t need to have any sort of educational value. And when they tried to do so, it was always through thinly-veiled Public Service Announcements thrown in to fill a cartoon’s running time at the end of the show. There may have been five minutes left going into that commercial break, but the story was wrapped up, and it was time to teach the young ones a “lesson.”

With the advent of the Children’s Television Act of 1990, this method of education became a relic of the decade we had just come out of, but for those of us who grew up during that time, it was awesome. We will forever cherish the time when “educational” involved He-Man and She-Ra discussing Bad Touch, a member of GI Joe taught me about proper skin care in the sun (and how not to fall off a cliff), and when we didn’t care what the Transformers had to teach us…we were just fascinated that they COULD teach us something.

And kids today are so much smarter than we ever were. Can’t find the correlation, can you?

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Patty Duke Re-Enacts the Passionate Words of a Mom Who Lost Her Son to Muscular Dystrophy

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I’m one of those people that feels truly saddened by the passing of actress Patty Duke, who died earlier this week at the age of 69 from sepsis. After the loss of Nancy Reagan several weeks ago, and the famous names that have left us this year (and it’s only March!) this year is sort of a bummer already.

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Did you ever get your McGruff the Crime Dog Mask

In the 1980s McGruff the Crime Dog was a force to be reckoned with. He made appearances in countless PSAs and if you were in school during this period you were probably show videos featuring this tough talking dog or if you were very lucky had McGruff make an appearance. Sadly he never made an in-person appearance in my schools, but I was a big fan. Big enough that when this PSA hit the airwaves toward the later part of the decade, I sent away for the mask. Then I waited. Sadly it never arrived and I eventually ran out of enthusiasm for the mask (even though I loved running home to check the mail for free stuff). I can only assume that my mask was stolen in an ironic twist and that some mail thief’s kid received it and wore it around the house mockingly.

Although perhaps I was just late to the game and was a victim of the fine print, which naturally I did not see until over 25 years later… “Quantities May Be Limited”

Oh well. Reading up on McGruff a little I got a real kick out of some of the top names that were submitted when they had a “name this character” contest.

The most common entry was “Sherlock Bones.” Other entries included “J. Edgar Dog,” “Sarg-dog,” and “Keystone cop Dog.” The winner, McGruff the Crime Dog, was submitted by a New Orleans police officer. Officer McGruff’s full name is Fred McGruff. In some of McGruff’s advertisements, he appears with his nephew Scruff McGruff.

While I really like the name McGruff, “Sherlock Bones” is probably the greatest name I have ever heard and will most likely be the name of whatever dog/child I get in the future.

Montgomery Ward - Loss Prevention

Let’s All Work Together (And Be A Profit Partner!)

Ah, the department store training video – there’s nothing quite like it.

The only thing better than a department store training video? A department store training video from a store that doesn’t even exist anymore! Even better than that? Department store training videos from the 1980s and 1990s.

You know the type of videos – shot on location in a store in an area people aren’t familiar with, bad acting, goofy clothes, actual employees, your host “The Loss Prevention Guy,” and some person told to steal something for the sake of teaching employees how to handle possible theft. Basically, store employees who want their fifteen minutes of fame to be a thing.

Put that back!

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In the 1990s, Chicago, Illinois-based retailer Montgomery Ward was still a thing, and in 1997, produced a training video to combat theft in their stores. This film, Let’s All Work Together, teaches new employees how to prevent loss, act badly, and wear funky sideburns. But primarily, it teaches new employees how to prevent inventory loss through theft.

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And funky sideburns. Don’t forget funky sideburns!

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This is Andy (“Hi Andy!”), and he works in Loss Prevention for Montgomery Ward.

And as this video begins, he is helping apprehend a man who allegedly paid for a cordless phone, but is hiding it under his shirt so his daughter doesn’t see it…since the phone is supposedly for her. Yeah yeah, likely story, sir.

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It’s such a tense situation, but Andy gives us the stark reality of the consequences of shoplifting at Montgomery Ward stores – the cost is in the millions!

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Andy informs the ill-informed associate, Jeff (aka Funky Sideburns), of the cost of shoplifting, and that there is more to being a Loss Prevention and Safety Specialist than just apprehending shoplifters – they are also responsible for maintaining the safety of customers and associates. But Jeff doesn’t care, and just say he was joking around. Yeah yeah, Jeff. Take your sideburns and suspenders and do your job, mmkay?
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Andy is then spotted by Jennifer, an associate who (bad acting alert) wants to discuss the concerns she has regarding her department and one of its employees. Of course, this is not before Andy thanks her (and Unseen Associate Joey) for filling in at bowling last week. The banter in these segments is eye-poking-out inducing, but makes the entertainment value of these otherwise unwatchable training videos increase. Jennifer decides she would rather speak with Andy in confidentiality during her break at 3:30.

He agrees to a meeting with her.

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And then there’s New Manager Sarah, whose employee Liz needs to be reminded (for the second time in several days), to never leave a cabinet unlocked, not even for a few minutes. She reminds Liz of the matter of seconds it takes for someone to steal from that cabinet. As Andy explains to us, Sarah’s department is beset with inventory control issues. And like a great Loss Prevention and Safety Specialist that he is, he’s looked into the issues plaguing Sarah’s department. It turns out that an unaccounted-for pair of camcorders was not noted properly on the inventory manifest by an employee. Oh, and Unseen Horrible Employee Ken rang three pre-recorded video cassettes up, but scanned one of those videos three times, rather than scan each one, and informs Sarah that she will get a register activity report the next day. Oh and the vacuum cleaner promotion her department came up short on? Apparently, receiving didn’t send up the right number, and some of the inventory was buried. Sarah’s department may be beset with 99 problems, but not all of them are her staff. Apparently, Montgomery Ward’s receiving department (or, at least, the one at her store, can’t get it together. Come on Montgomery Ward’s receiving department, let’s all work together!

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Oh, do you see what I did there?!

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Sarah is over-the-top-acting angry about her department running out of several vacuum cleaner SKUs before the promotion was halfway over, and all because of some flubs behind the scenes. Andy assures her that he is looking into this, but all Sarah is concerned about is things shaping up. She’s like the Beyonce of Montgomery Wards, and I don’t know whether to feel bad for her, or laugh at her terrible acting.
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Andy discusses the pitfalls of merchandise shortages due to error – it drives up the cost, drives away customers, and makes Montgomery Ward less profitable and competitive. They remedy these problems by making sure that security tags are attached to all clothing, and the wires that are supposed to be attached to the tags are checked regularly.

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Also being done by Montgomery Ward? Informing associates to keep sales floor areas clean and clutter-free, keeping exits cleared, and standards that protect cash and merchandise and catch dishonest customers.

Which takes us to our next training point – always check purses and luggage for hidden merchandise:

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Check tickets on merchandise, and give potential dishonest customers the benefit of a doubt. Done right? The associate offers help finding jeans of a similar style in the woman’s price range. So she’ll still get a good deal.

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And there’s the elusive short-change artists, who try to bully and confuse associates into giving them incorrect change to their advantage. Like this Overacting Bully, who is unsuccessful in his attempt to get more change back than he should.
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And then there’s till-tapping, where one person tries to create a diversion through bad acting while another shady individual tries to break into the register with his bad acting skills…and the observant employee who remembered to close the cash drawer AND pay attention. Score one redemption point for Liz, who stopped this from happening.

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So now we’re at 3:30 in the afternoon (shockingly, we didn’t get a line of dialogue where Andy says “Oh, it’s just about 3:30, let’s go meet with Jennifer!” – that’s how bad this acting is), and Jennifer is speaking with Andy regarding a customer who has been in everyday for the last month, and always waits until Rob Kovac is working.

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Last week, Jennifer watched closer, and the “customer” brought up three answering machines, yet Rob scanned only one. Jennifer watched to see if he scanned the other two, or if the customer changed his mind, but Rob only scanned one and bagged all three.

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Clever bastard.

The guy came back later and did the same thing. Loss prevention had been up on the issues in the department, and had been investigating – Jennifer reporting her concerns will make the investigation much faster. Andy then informs Jennifer that Rob will be fired for his actions, that he would like to take action on Jennifer’s report, and asks her if she is aware of the cash award. She isn’t, so Andy explains it to her.

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The cash award is through the Profit Partners Recognition Program – if an associate is able to identify employee theft that results in termination of the offending employee, the associate will receive a $250 cash award, and up to 10% of all inventory recovered. Also part of this program? Pointing out unsafe workplace conditions and paperwork issues that could result in shrinkage. The smallest award is a $10 gold medallion (a service award, according to Big Daddy Dave’s amazing Montgomery Award Memorabilia blog post), with largest being a not-to-be-scoffed at $2000. You can report your concerns to your facility manager, or Loss Prevention and Safety Manager…or call this 800 number 24/7 anonymously, from any location.

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I can’t hear you Andy, the number is shouting at me!!!

Other ways to make the company less profitable include conspiring with friends and family to return merchandise they never purchased for a refund, not charging for labor or services on vehicles (or taking care of your own vehicle without paying for it) , or just outright having someone walk merchandise out to the back of a waiting car.

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Shady, underhanded, and right out in the open – damn you Montgomery Ward thieves!

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And then there’s shoplifting, and we’re introduced to Carl, an associate who witnessed someone stealing merchandise, and while the female suspect was videotaped, she left the store without stealing anything further, and was also not apprehended. Carl is outraged by this, but Andy reassures Carl that she may not be so lucky next time, and to remain vigilant.

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Andy discusses the trademarks of shoplifters – they love unattended areas and messy displays, can look like everyone else, and come from all walks of life. Shoplifters aren’t just relegated to certain stereotypes.

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And then there’s the next lady…and the ever-observant Funky Sideburns Associate, Jeff. But he’s smart (despite his big mouth and sarcastic attitude earlier), and reports what he sees to Loss Prevention. Andy is patrolling the floor and is on the lookout, while his co-worker Karen watches the suspect on the monitor. She describes the suspect to Andy, and Andy takes Funky Sideburns Associate-Turned Witness, Jeff, with him to apprehend the woman, who insists these are her shoes…and then breaks down and says she’s never done anything like this before.

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Andy completes his report, and lets Jeff know that he will be referred to the Profit Partners. Jeff is thrilled, but concerned for the shoplifter. It turns out she has been arrested twice before for the same crime, so any decisions are now up to the courts.

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(Or after Andy changes his golf shirt)

Andy revisits Jennifer in her department to let her know the outcome of her report about her fellow associate, Rob Kovac. Almost all of the merchandise had been recovered, and Jennifer gets a nice reward for her concerns. Which means one thing, and one thing only – you can be a Montgomery Ward Snitch for Hire…and make a profit. Who knew tattling had its rewards? Usually it gets people reprimanded for being a busybody, but at Montgomery Ward, it’s all about monetary rewards!

Profit Partners!!!

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Andy recaps everything from the video, and informs us that we too can be good Montgomery Ward associates, he hopes that we will choose to make the right decisions, and Let’s All Work Together!

The video ends with the cold, hard facts of theft while we watch security camera footage of unsuspecting Montgomery Ward shoppers, who had no idea they were being filmed for a Montgomery Ward training video. Oh, and the video is dedicated to all the Loss Prevention and Safety Specialists, as well as everyone who strives to make Montgomery Ward a safer, more secure, and shoppable store.

So, all of this happened in this one Montgomery Ward location, on this one particular day. Kind of eventful for such an empty store, don’t you think?

Sadly, Montgomery Ward was in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 1997, and rebranded as Wards that year. By December 2000, the company announced it would cease operation, and by May 2001, all merchandise had been liquidated. Which means Andy’s discussion about the company being less profitable was probably a true story. Sales were declining throughout the 1990s, and this was the beginning of the end for Montgomery Ward. Also, I have no idea where this was filmed, but judging by the accents, likely in Chicago, where they were based.

And there you have it, the 1997 Montgomery Ward Loss Prevention training video. I hope you found it informative and entertaining, and a deterrent to not ever steal anything. Because someone like Andy and Karen (and eagle-eye comrades, Funky Sideburns Associate Jeff, Jennifer, and Carl) are all watching you.

If you’d like to see the trainwreck in progress that is Let’s All Work Together!, click the videos below. The only pain you’ll feel is the pain of embarrassment for these people, who truly believed they were the best and brightest of actors Montgomery Ward had.

[Via] Joe Enos

So heed the words of Andy, our faithful Montgomery Ward Loss Prevention and Safety Specialist – Shoplifting and all other Loss Prevention-type issues are crimes and wrong in every way possible. It makes nearly-defunct department stores less profitable, it reflects badly on associates, and it’s a crime.

Did I mention that already. Oh, and if you so choose to be a vigilant employee, you too can be a Profit Partner.
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So let’s all work together, because Montgomery Ward is on its way out, but wants to keep morale up.

Allison worked in retail at one time, but not in loss prevention. She has watched videos like this, complete with bad acting. She is the head poobah of Allison’s Written Words, and would like all of us to work together and read and subscribe. If you’d like randomness in your newsfeed, you can be a Profit Partner (aka friend and follower) and subscribe to her blog’s Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut. She won’t follow you away from this site (nor pay you for your visit), because Allison knows that the only thing you’re stealing is a good laugh at the stuff she finds in the veritable department store known as the interwebs.

Allison has never shopped at Montgomery Ward. She just likes their training video.

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PROFIT PARTNERS!

(It’s no wonder that Montgomery Ward’s had such a shady clientele…they had Robert Hoover from Animal House as a spokesman. So this is what he got up to after the incident at Faber College!)

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Richard Dean Anderson On Essentials For A First Aid Kit

Related Links…Because I’ve written a few articles about Richard Dean Anderson lately. :-)

Happy Holidays From Richard Dean Anderson??As He MacGyvers For The Camera!

Before He Was Mac (And Jack), Richard Dean Anderson Did This Stuff

When I was looking for material for my Pre-MacGyver Richard Dean Anderson video, I came across a great archive of treasures on the You Tube channel MacGyver Online. It’s an impressive You Tube Channel, and if you’re a Richard Dean Anderson or MacGyver fan (as you know, I’m both, and if you didn’t know that…um, wow, seriously?!), I highly recommend checking it out. It’s where I found all of the videos from my two previous Richard Dean Anderson/MacGyver articles. Oh, and I subscribe to them too.

One video I filed in the back of my “I’ve Got Ideas for Articles, But Why Not Have More Ideas?” Mental filing cabinet (you know, the one where all of my article ideas are kept) during my “research” for the last two articles was a video that stresses the importance of safety via the common household First Aid Kit. And at the time, who better to tell you all about the wisdom of the conventional safety kit, than the man (or rather, the man who played him) who has no clue what conventional safety means, or what conventional safety kits are? Why, Richard Dean Anderson, of course!

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This undated video was a public service announcement that was shown sometime during MacGyver’s run, and looks like something we watched in health class during the late 1990s (because in high school, all the relevant safety videos we ever watched were more than 10 years old). It was the kind of thing the teacher obviously figured we’d react to. And we ate it up, which was naturally something you did as a ’80s/’90s baby.

Oh, and if you really want to see a representation of that mental filing cabinet, it kinda looks like this.

Filing Cabinet

I never said it was sexy or impressive. It’s also the neatest and most organized aspect of my mind. After the siren blares at us (that’s just a warning, as you will need to turn down your volume before watching), Richard goes forth and informs you of all the important things your First Aid Kit should contain, while contained within a shoebox.

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Shoeboxes: They’re not just for baseball cards, or I don’t know, SHOES!, for that matter!

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And a fair warning if you have your computer volume turned up ? please turn it down slightly, as the audio on this video is loud!

[Via] MacGyver Online

Richard informs you that with your MacGyver-ed First Aid Kit, you too (yes YOU! , not you or you, but YOU!) will be as prepared as MacGyver…and he won’t tell you secret.

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It’s ok, the only secret I want to know is how you get your hair to do that. Mousse, or natural?

I’ve watched this four times, folks, and I can tell you that I’m not only prepared, I can actually say “Syrup of Ipecac” now (except I keep giggling at the way HE says “Syrup of Ipecac” – IPP-EH-KAAK). Sounds like an animal puking, doesn’t it?

Oh, and he says to always call 911 or your Poison Control Center in an emergency. You know, because life-threatening and such.

I’m not exactly sure when this would have been a thing, but judging by his hair, I’d say about 1988 or 1989. That would place this roughly around season three or four of MacGyver. Of course, those seasons were part of the glory years of Mac saving the day from threats of the world blowing up. Those were some of the best seasons.

So, remember kids, you too can be like MacGyver and have a cool shoebox full of life-saving, injury-patching tools. Because First Aid!

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And MACGYVER!

Allison has proclaimed her love for MacGyver (And Richard Dean Anderson) in many places and on many occasions. If you like this, you’ll love what she’s got going on over at her blog, Allison’s Written Words. She can also be found on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut, and her bog can be followed via Facebook, if you’re feeling empowered to do so. She does not own a First Aid Kit contained in a shoebox, but she does have all of this stuff handy in her house.

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IPP-EH-KAAK.

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Star Trek the Animated Series wants you to Keep America Beautiful

In the not too distant past, litter was a real problem. I am not talking the problem we have now with litter, but comically serious. People would toss stuff from moving cars, into oceans and rivers, you name it. Then in the 1960s and 1970s a lot of effort went into trying to change people’s attitude on littering and dumping. It was a good battle to fight and for the most part it has been successful (it just took a while).

In the Seventies, which was a golden age for anti-littering PSAs, they created this amazing one using the talented people behind the Animated Star Trek Series. When I worked in a video store, and we sold and rented copies of this series, several hardcore fans would come in and talk of memories of these PSAs and their sadness at them not being released on VHS.

It took a few decades, but thanks to the internet, many things from the past have surfaced, including this very memorable anti-littering PSA from the Keep American Beautiful campaign. It is a brilliant example of some of the pioneering effort that the studio, Filmation, put into animated PSAs.

Now you will never look at the Rhombian Pollution Belt the same way again.

Star Trek PSA