As Coronavirus has swept relentlessly across the Globe, the UK government has encouraged everyone to exercise outdoors. Some people however have taken their city ways out into the countryside and left a trail of litter, vandalism and disruption in their wake. Emma Gatten writes in the Daily Telegraph that schools should teach children how to respect the countryside, but should this be expanded to encompass all generations?
Emma writes that “The Countryside Code should be taught in schools because an entire generation has been left without an understanding of how to respect rural spaces, the Country Land and Business (CLA) has said.”
On Monday 6th July, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes a slightly different approach in asking UK citizens to clean up their act by tidying the outdoor spaces around them.
Lack of Respect
Why do some people think it’s ok to dump their rubbish in the countryside? At it’s core, it comes down to a lack of respect, possibly due to upbringing and culture. When I was a kid, adults would always come up with the retort that “You wouldn’t litter in your own home would you?” But there are plenty of TV programmes showing people who do live in squalor. Then there are those flytippers who will make some cash collecting your rubbish and then dump it in a country lane, often entirely blocking the road.
Poverty or not, everyone should learn to respect the world and people around them. We all want the food on our tables, but how many of us know the effort that goes into sowing, growing, nurturing, harvesting and processing the crops that we need? The challenge is to get people to take ownership of the problem.
Mend Our Mountains
The UK Outdoor Industry Association launched Britain on Foot a few year ago, with the aim of getting more people out of the cities and into the countryside. The bit they didn’t plan for is that with increased footfall comes footpath erosion, litter and crowds from the limited infrastructure in those rural areas. A bigger longer term strategy is needed, but who will lead it?
We all need to remember that everything is transient. We need to respect and look after the things around us. I have no idea what shift will happen that changes people’s attitudes, but hopefully you can help.