As world leaders gather in Glasgow to talk about climate change, now is a good time for all of us to consider our personal responsibility for the environment that we are fortunate to inhabit.
Governments need to make decisions on the major issues that affect the future of our planet. Big industry and corporations are changing their way of doing business and must continue to do so. We can do our bit by, for example, considering our personal carbon footprint, reusing, recycling, and avoiding single-use plastics. We can all do more.
Plastics bags, food containers, used coffee cups, plastic bottles, glass bottles, broken glass, discarded food, soiled nappies, drink cartons, cardboard, tin foil. These are some of the things I saw yesterday morning on my walk.
You might wonder why I was walking in a rubbish dump. It certainly felt like I was, but I was having what should have been a lovely stroll on a beach. It was so appalling, we turned around and came home, but there were people on that beach with young children, playing amid the garbage.
It doesn’t make sense. Even if you don’t care about our environment or about anyone else, why would you leave your trash on a beach that you will visit again? A beach should be a wonderful place where people can relax, and children can play in the sea and build sandcastles.
I dread to think what a child might dig up with a plastic spade if all that is on top of the sand. It is frankly horrific.
I was walking near my home two days ago when a van stopped and the driver wound down his window and dropped his dirty tissues and plastic bottle out. I went into crazy woman mode and lectured him about his behaviour, including reminding him that we are in the midst of a pandemic and that his used tissues are hazardous waste. He ignored me until I got my phone out to take a photo of his number plate which prompted him to apologise and pick up his trash. I wouldn’t be surprised if he dropped it somewhere else, but it felt like a tiny victory.
The government can and do legislate against littering and dumping but they cannot monitor everything we do. Personal responsibility. We all have it, and we need to exercise it. There isn’t another pristine world waiting for us to move to and ruin. This is the only one we’ve got.
Take your rubbish away with you and dispose of it responsibly and call out other people who don’t. It is the least we can do.