Environment: Who is responsible?

Lately, there has been much generalised comment on social media and in the press that “old people” are to blame for the climate crisis and environmental problems generally, as the post-war generation has apparently consumed far more than they should of the world’s limited resources. This is probably fair criticism as, since the 50s, there has been a massive increase in consumption, not least of fuel to power our ever-larger vehicles and planes for our foreign holidays.

However younger people have also benefitted from this increased mobility and ready availability of technology and I’m sure many take it for granted, but we should all acknowledge that none of this comes without cost to future generations.

Although litter is only a small part of a larger problem, respecting our immediate environment would be a start. Today I went on a solitary litter-pick from Claxby village, up Park Road to the A46 because I was sick of seeing litter in the verge as I drive home.

There has been a noticeable increase in litter here since Claxby became a cut-through when floods closed the A46. It seems that people buy take-away coffees and breakfasts etc and when consumed, the cups and trays just get thrown out of the window.

It was interesting to note that almost all the cans I picked up were Red Bull or other energy drinks, and then next came Coke cans and other carbonated drinks, then coffee cups, breakfast sandwich wrappers and cigarette packets.

I may be generalising here (as much as the comments on social media do) but I can’t help thinking that these items are consumed mostly by young people (old people, particularly those with high blood pressure, are often forbidden fizzy drinks and caffeine by their doctors anyway!) so we can assume that the litter is created by the younger generation whizzing at high speed through our village on their way to work or school. I’m not pointing a finger – just pointing out that we all have a responsibility to protect our world, regardless of when we were born.

We can start by respecting our immediate environment; let’s stop apportioning blame and just take our rubbish home.

David Beer