But it's somebody else's problem

Plastic in rivers and canals
Sooner or later, we will need to recognise that the planet has rights too, to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that humans can’t live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans.

People who disassociate themselves from issues that are clearly visible, and often in urgent need of recognition are commonly thought to suffer from a condition know as "Somebody Else's Problem" or SEP. It's an effectively-magical field - like a blind spot - that causes people to obscure or ignore issues that they know about, but think of as either not something they can do anything about, or not personally relevant to them. This results in important issues being overlooked because it's easier to just ignore them rather than to address them. 

Unfortunately it's a default function for most people not to see anything they don't want to - like plastic pollution. The majority of people continue to skip through life ignoring the single biggest environmental catastrophe facing our planet today. If it's not building up on their own doorstep, blocking the front door and causing hindrance to their life, then why care? Brains, quite literally, edit out the bad and unsightly stuff that's littering our streets, parks, waterways and mountains in favour of blissful ignorance, and the throwaway thought that somebody else will pick it up, and resolve the issue. 

Somebody else's problem

I witness the SEP phenomenon on a daily basis.  People walking past, stepping over or skirting around plastic and other rubbish lining our planet like it isn't actually visible, and a magical SEP field exists around it. 

I also know that there's a lot of people who do care and want to contribute meaningfully to the world, but don't really know where to start. In fact, when I organised my #PlasticPatrol clean ups in September, I was overwhelmed by the number of people who took the time out of their day to lend a hand. The Great British Spring Clean - which launches today - has organised a series of clean ups in towns and cities across the country too - so get involved. 

If, for whatever reason, the thought of going out into the local community and (heaven forbid!) litter picking stops you from doing it, then consider other ways you might be able to make a positive impact. I recently wrote a blog about ways we can cut down on plastic in our daily lives. Making small, conscious choices as part of our lifestyles would result in huge aggregate change. 

Essentially, we are all part of this planet and should be acting as custodians of it for future generations to enjoy it, like we are currently able to. Play a part in protecting the planet, however that looks. 

The natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much that makes life worth living.
— David Attenborough
Lizzie Carr on River Trent Nottingham
Lizzie Carr7 Comments