Having chosen to swallow the red pill...

Monday, June 05, 2006

If not me, then whom?

Today, according to my diary, is World Environmental Day. That I found it there by chance and otherwise on the 'outside' have heard nothing about it, seems to me to be symptomatic of how in many spheres the environment has become a back issue and for many people, a second thought.

But today's writing is not about addressing the environment as a global debate, not about even about EU environmental policy or Swedish environmental awareness. Today is about the micro side of the environment, it is about you and me and about the choices that we make, each and every day.

When you are walking downtown and come across a discarded paper in the street, what do you do? Do you even notice it? Do you just ignore it and not give it a thought? Do you give it enough time to think that it is maybe someone else's job to pick it up, but not yours? Do you stop to pick it up and place it in the nearest dustbin?

In each of these thoughts and actions, we are making an active choice about the type of world that we want to live in and we are actively creating it. When I stop to pick-up the discarded paper and place it in a bin, I am making a choice about the type of world that I want to live in and that I want my children to live in. I ask myself the honest question, 'If not me, then whom?' If I don't pick it up, can I expect you to pick it up? If I am out with Benjamin and I walk on past it, can I expect him to pick it up? If not me, then whom?

The same is true of household recycling. Do you recycle all of the envelopes, papers and junk mail you get, all of the cans and bottles that you eat and drink out of daily, or do you just throw them away? Sure, it takes a little bit more time but what examples are we setting for the children and what kind of a world are we leaving them? What kind of world are we creating for ourselves?

The power of a grassroots movement is that the small, daily efforts of a large number of people on a mission cause a big effect. It is those little choices, the picking up of that paper, the one extra minute it takes during a day to recycle a bottle or a can. That small action, if you do it and if I do it, can really change the world. Decide what kind of world you want to live in and then go out and make it happen.

As Noreena Hertz said at a recent interview, 'Nobody can do everything but everybody can do something and together we can change the world.'


  • We did our own recycling Paul - all those bottles from Pat's 60th which you so kindly help to make sure everyone at his party helped to empty!

    Glad to see you're back on air as it were.

    If not me - then some other b****r will cop for it so I might as well grin and bear it!

    By Anonymous Fifi, RJOWiggins and Gang, at 10:03 pm  

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