Normally I don’t walk around town much, but due to a change in life recently I’ve been doing a lot more walking over the past two weeks. The city where I live now is not where I’ve spent most of my life. I grew up in a big city where people still say “Thank-you” when you hold the door open for them, where others hold a door open for you, and you can say “Hello” to random strangers on the street and they will respond with similar greeting and a smile. What I’ve come to realize over these past two weeks is that I now live in an city where most people are seemingly threatened by a stranger who says hello to them – especially if there is eye contact (I test this theory on every person I come across on my walks), they will walk down the middle of the sidewalk and force others to move out of their way, they don’t give a second thought leaving their personal mark where ever they go (a mess for someone else to clean up), and that drivers usually feel that they always have the right-of-way. Not to disparage everyone here – I have come across some people that will say hi, motorists who will yield to pedestrians, and those who not only clean up after themselves – but will even make the effort to separate trash and recycling. From my experience though, those people are very much an anomaly here.
Why am I telling you this? It’s because I’ve been thinking about what causes people to think environmentally. The first reasons that may come to mind is to keep the planet healthy and to leave a future for our children. I believe it goes deeper than that – I believe it starts with caring about humanity. What does humanity mean to me? Consideration for those around you, feeling empathy, that the most important person is not oneself, and contributing to the community positively in whatever way we are best equipped to do so.
One point of self-reflection for me to mull over though, and somewhat of a disclaimer – I’ve come to realize that once an opinion is formed around a particular subject, sometimes we (I?) tend to discount and turn a blind eye to the positives around that subject and use the negatives to validate opinions. Taking that into consideration I feel compelled to state that the examples of my recent observations should be, mostly, taken with a grain of salt, and I in no way intended to offend anyone.