As I drove home from work today, I started reflecting on a few things that people had been discussing and it made me think hard about some of the issues that really worry me about our world and the culture we have developed in the UK in particular.
This post is meant to be an outlet for my thoughts but is also a talking point. I hope that those of you reading this will comment your own opinions below and be open about your own related worries.
Worry 1: Lack of Independence
When I was young, in the 1980s, there were certain things that were expected of us. we used to have to look after our own clothes and possessions, for instance, and walk or cycle ourselves to school. We also had to quickly learn some independent thinking skills and apply these to our everyday lives.
Even in getting to and from places such as the local shops, we had to learn to adapt and think on our feet. Most of my friends walked to school in little groups and we had to make those journeys every day without adult guidance. By habit, we looked out for each other and learned new routes together.
Some of the skills we gained from making our own way to school were really valuable. We got to negotiate crossing roads, get some much needed exercise and talk through our feelings with our friends. These days so many kids arrive in cars and have little awareness of the routes that they take to get from one place to another. Although there is generally more morning traffic, much of it is families ferrying kids to school.
More independence in getting around is very good for self confidence and health. Less cars on the road would mean safer journeys and less pollution. There are many other ways that I believe independence and coping mechanisms are less evident these days, especially during growing up. It worries me that we are becoming a really dependent society and people are anxious more about things because they haven’t gathered those valuable coping mechanisms.
Worry 2: Rubbish
Lately I have been noticing just how willing many people are to dispose of rubbish. Without a thought, people are chucking waste out and putting little thought into reducing it or recycling it.
Packaging is everywhere and often only used for a specific purpose before being thrown out. I myself reviewed a small item in the post and it came in a massive cardboard envelope which was a total waste of space.
I am trying to think more carefully about what I buy and not to use unnecessary wrapping or extra packaging when buying gifts. Do you really need a snazzy gift bag that is going to be emptied quickly and then disposed of?
Worry 3: Aeroplanes
The other week a football club flew its players across the UK to get to a match near me. Getting through security and boarding a plane, along with the journey and travelling time either end meant it wouldn’t have been that much quicker than simply coming on a train.
In my opinion people are too quick to choose flying over other more sustainable forms of transport. For instance, I took a leisurely train ride to Edinburgh which was four hours long but many would go by plane almost without thinking. I know people that fly back and forth to Scotland regularly.
Why? You may arrive slightly quicker but the damage done by aeroplanes is so much greater. They literally pump greenhouse gases into the higher part of the atmosphere where they can do the most damage. Trains are cleaner even though some of their electricity will come from fossil fuels. They are far more sustainable in the long term, especially as more of our electricity is now from solar, nuclear and wind farms.
Maybe I worry too much. I don’t get anxious about these things but it does upset me that some of the ways we live our lives are causing problems which we could easily avoid.
If we really do learn lessons from the past then hopefully we will begin to make changes that benefit us in the future. I am just concerned that often our culture focuses on speed and technology and we as human beings lose out in so many ways due to this haste.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post about worries. If you enjoyed my article please consider dropping a comment or following my blog for future similar content about entertainment, books and the environment.