Today I walked past a water drain. It´s dirty water was absolutely filled with rubbish. Mostly plastic bottles, but other bits and pieces too. Parts of cars. Plastic bags. This drain borders on a community and children play in it.
I thought to myself how I´d like to come back to Mozambique in 50 years to see how things have changed – how hopefully there´ll be recycling facilities and less rubbish cluttering the streets. Then I realised that in 50 years, I will be 80. I probably won´t be able to come back.
That seems like almost a lifetime. So much can change in that time. And yet so much can stay the same. When I think about how long the world has been working on eradicating poverty (some 60 years), raising awareness about environmental destruction (some 50 years), or even women´s rights (more than 100 years) and how we are STILL fighting on these issues, I wonder whether by the time I reach my twilight years, we will still be arguing about these issues and whether they are issues.
It raises some serious questions for me about action, about who is responsible, and what should be done to make change.
Who is responsible to make the change? In the case of this rubbish here in this water drain, is it the people in that community? Is it the local government? Is it the government? Is it the international donors?
How do we become aware of the damage we cause, and how to we grow the desire to avoid it?
What role does business have in promoting sustainability? Not just in the creation of their products, but also in what happens after they´ve been long used up.
What role do I have? What should I be doing about all of the rubbish here in the streets? What can I do? Is there a difference between what I can do and what I should do?
One thing I do know – all that rubbish will still be there in 50 years (rapidly accumulating) if no one does anything.
Think about an issue that really gets to you. What are you doing about it?