How do people get so ignorant?

How could you litter this place?

I just had a super little holiday in the Yorkshire Dales. The best thing about it was being outside on the hills and hollows from dawn to dusk almost, the weather being absolutely perfect.

It was the perfect holiday for me because outside in a natural environment is where I really love to be and, as you’ll know if you’re connected to me on Instagram, I’ll take most weathers. But last week’s constant light and sunshine was an amazing bonus I couldn’t resist. So constant, in fact, I nearly had heatstroke.

The only thing that was less than perfect was the bag of rubbish!

There we were tramping up this hill, so far from anywhere that only the dedicated few would make the effort to go. So you’d think it would only be folks who really appreciate it who’d go there. Yet what does one of those folks do? Decide to leave their plastic bag of picnic rubbish; sandwich packets and plastic bottles, polluting that glorious environment, expecting someone else to pick up after them.

I ask you – what kind of mentality do they have?

We were in exquisitely beautiful countryside, we’re actually able to walk this land as a privilege not a right, we are as such extremely lucky, and that’s how people wish to repay that privilege? By expecting others to clean up after them as they take their personal recreation and enjoyment. This being land where people live and work and depend upon for their livelihood? Never mind the risk to other living things.

How do people get so ignorant? I fail to understand what kind of education they can have had.

As I walked back down the hill, I picked up the dangerous bag, carried it back and disposed of it.

It would have been easy not to.

But I’ve learnt from my daughter. Her integrity almost puts mine to shame. I would never throw litter down – but I don’t often pick it up after others either, as she does.

She and I were walking together through the park in town where someone else has flung their discarded litter about the place. There are bins provided – very near – but no, it’s too much effort to carry litter to a bin. So she picks it up and puts it in the bin in passing. Such a simple unselfish act, she takes upon herself. She does it whenever she walks through and sees the need.

We’re often accused of making our home schooled kids dependent – or depriving them of independence by keeping them at home. (Total balderdash as you can read from this recent post) Yet I see her independently taking responsibility not only for her own rubbish but for the rubbish of those ignorant gits who are dependent on others picking up after them.

Ironic isn’t it!

The hills and remote places were otherwise glorious. And do a great deal to heal the sometimes less glorious thoughts that creep in about the less glorious others we have to share them with.

I do hope you’ll never be one of them!

13 thoughts on “How do people get so ignorant?

  1. Good on you and your daughter for caring and for picking up other people’s rubbish. As you can imagine, we have the same problem on Cornwall’s beautiful beaches and I struggle to understand how some of those who come a long way to enjoy these places can treat them like a bin. My son (home educated) and I pick up after people and it feels constant, I’ve even met some very hostile responses to my polite attempts to reunite people with their things that they’ve blatantly dropped and walked away from, but I don’t stop trying.

    Education matters, but it takes the right education and experiences to make a difference, I’d say. Official messages of ‘take litter home’ are often just another imposed rule and it can make people feel rebellious and liberated to ignore those imposed rules. Just like in all things, deep learning happens when people have the opportunity to discover things for themselves; to spend time in wild places, to experience nature, to come to love it and want to protect it. I always hope that the time I spend volunteering to give people the chance to discover the amazing diversity of marine life that’s just a few metres from their towel on any beach gives them a new perspective on what’s at stake. Nothing will change unless we try.

    • Thanks so much Heather for taking time to leave your brilliant comment. You are so right – unless people experience the world beyond their own self absorbed use of it, they’ll never be educated widely enough to see a picture bigger than their selfishness. Well done for what you do to help!

  2. Your daughter sounds just like mine. Whenever she sees rubbish on the ground, especially if it’s in nature or on a beach, she’ll pick it up. Littering is so senseless, makes me angry too when I see beautiful places marred.

  3. It really is so sad that some people simply won’t take responsibility for their planet. Well done to your daughter for acting responsible, even when it’s not her litter.

  4. It’s heartbreaking isn’t it Ross, I can resonate with your anger about it. For me it highlights another area where we have been disconnected from our feminine sides. We are in a world now where creativity, nurturing, intuition and connection with nature are no longer valued in our schools and society. It’s all got really out of balance.

    I have to admit that even I, a lover of nature, have been oblivious sometimes to the harm that is happening. I haven’t littered but I have learned about things that I have been doing that haven’t been helpful! Or of things I could be doing more of that might help. It’s sometimes my kids that teach it to me haha!

    I feel the most important thing we can do is to keep loving nature ourselves and allowing the feminine aspects to be important in our lives. When something brings us joy it makes us shine and then others notice and sometimes follow. Just like your daughter I guess! She’s seen your shine and developed her own. Others will be seeing hers and on and on it goes until our world is a more whole place to be hopefully! It doesn’t feel like much does it but I think it’s quite powerful. It feels like an enormous task when so many people are wounded and unaware of it and their actions, but I really believe we can make an impact just be being aware ourselves!

    • That’s a super comment, thanks so much Clare. I hadn’t seen it like that. I’m like you – learning all the time and doing my best to change more harmful habits. As you say; small acts can be quite powerful. Thanks again.

  5. This annoys me so much. We have fields at the back of our house that people regularly walk though. Unfortunately they also sit for a while, have a snack, or even a barbeque. And then rather than take their litter home they just leave it. I get so frustrated. I tell my son that this is not what you do, you have to take it home. What do they think is going to happen to their plastic or glass bottles, tin cans etc. It is a great way though to start a talk about the environment but not really the way I would want to.

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