“What are your plans for the weekend? Where are you going for your next holidays? How was the last weekend away? What was the festival like? Was the traffic heavy on the way to work?”
All very normal questions people would usually ask at work at the coffee machine. Not in Italy for the next few weeks however or in the other corona affected areas where there are forms of societal lockdown. I don’t want to get into the question here if these measures are justified in this specific scenario, but I’m intrigued by the impact they have and how everyone reacts so differently to the eventuality of a lockdown situation.
Reactions I heard so far vary from easily hermitting in the house to people who wouldn’t obey to any governmental advice because life needs to go on and they’re not worried since they’re young and healthy or ‘because there are enough elderly in the world anyway.’ One thing is for sure: government measures of this type won’t have any effect in free Western countries without some feeling of responsibility. Probably exactly the same for possible climate measures. So that brings me to the question: what is social responsibility?
For most people social responsibility would be doing their work to use their skills to help each other and to make money for their families while doing so. We don’t really need our neighbours to look after us when we’re ill since we have hospitals and home nurses, so health care wouln’t be one them for the majority of us anyway. But what if it would be necessary? Would we be there for each other? And how bad or close do ‘abstract situations’ need to be in general before we are prepared to change our behaviour? People close to us dying from a virus, climate disasters happening in our own street?
Crisis situations show the cracks in our individualistic societal building. People get angry when they have to cancel their holidays or their events, because of the small chance of some far away 80 year old that might die. We are all so focussed on our individual needs while we fully rely on the government to solely ‘fix major issues’ like a pandemic situation or climate crisis. BUT WE DON’T WANNA CHANGE ANY OF OUR OWN BEHAVIOUR. Isn’t this bizarre? If there is any good I hope from the corona virus, is that it will shed a light on that.
Doing nothing or less of all those activities we feel so entitled to can be an answer aswell! Plus it will help the climate crisis and the planet while we are doing so.
And isn’t that a good enough reason on its own?