Don’t step on my spiders!
…said a Patagonian woman with a perfect, Audrey Hepburn-esque British accent, like she’d just walked out of an old movie. She told us her ancestors were Scottish, a fact that didn’t surprise me, having just read about the Welsh immigration wave to Patagonia.
What she actually meant by this was further explained. She was asking us travelers, passers-by, to not ruin Patagonian nature by casually leaving trash behind and to be mindful of even the smallest things, like stepping on insects. To please leave this place as we found it.
I can only imagine her sense of cultural identity, but she seemed to have a strong sense of home – Patagonia. The spiders were hers and she was taking it personally.
The particular spider she was referring to was so huge that we easily spotted it from the minivan’s window. It was crossing the road, and our driver pulled to a stop just to let it pass, not wanting to risk running it over. There was no other traffic. The spider was the size of a crab.
In Ushuaia, further south, grocery stores didn’t give out plastic bags. None of them. Plastic bags were banned for environmental reasons. The small town was a hub for travelers, and port of call for many of the ships to Antarctica.
Due to its geographical isolation, Ushuaia wasn’t equipped to deal with enormous amounts of waste. If you needed something to carry your purchases in, there were cardboard boxes available at most shops or you simply brought your own reusable bag.
I saw a ray of hope with this rational ban that everyone was following with no complaints. If this small town at the far edge of the world can ban plastic bags, why can’t the rest of us follow in its footsteps?
The very least we can do is to not step on the spiders we come across, even if it were the easiest response.