Looking at the culture here in the UK of socialising and group gatherings, it is not surprising that after Boris announced an easing of the current lockdown measures on Thursday there was a flurry of excitement across Britain.
Despite the new rules only starting from Monday, many took Thursday’s speech as an opportunity to make movements almost immediately. The beaches were flooded with people this weekend and social distancing guidelines had clearly gone out the window. One thing we have particularly noticed in the reactions to this pandemic are that people are very happy to be critical of others until it does not suit them anymore. It is obvious that a lot of the public are beginning to shirk their responsibilities when we have all been clearly told to stay at home. It seems that all the effort we have put in to stay at home over the past eight weeks is for nothing if we continue to react in this way at the slight inkling of some more freedom. The BBC have reported that locals at the beach resorts are said to be ‘horrified’ by the influx of people and feel this puts them at a much higher risk if the behaviour continues.
The onslaught of this sudden reaction does not only have health implications, it also has environmental consequences. We were finally giving our planet a break (even if it did take a global pandemic for this to happen), and carbon emissions are at an all-time low, with the BBC reporting that pollution has been reduced by as much as 50% in some large cities. As well as this, litter has been reduced. Without public spaces being used as much and home cooking becoming a lot more common our waste has been decreased. There are many claims of new environmental consciousness among the public however, what was left on the beaches after the influx of people visiting them at the weekend does not show this.
Images show a huge amount of rubbish that was left on the sites at the end of the weekend. Everyone has had a lovely day out with their friends and families playing games and having picnics but have left all their rubbish at the end of the day. They have shown a complete lack of regard for the environment, those that live in the area and use the beaches in a more socially distanced way, and those that must tidy up the beaches afterwards.
We feel as though this is something that needs to be brought to light, we were getting a lot better about our environmental footprint and now is not the time to stop! We must continue to leave less waste everywhere even with public spaces opening for summer. It is not the time to become complacent. It is instrumental that we remain conscious and make decisions based on the impact we have on the planet and not on whether we can be bothered to walk to the bin or not.
The challenge is how do we learn to social distance ourselves and how do we all start using less stuff. We can’t help with social distancing this is something we will all have do as one people, together through being respectful and where required politely vocal. We can help you and your school or business to Use Less Stuff with our online programme!
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