Are our rights more important than our duty to others?

This is a thought that’s been resonating with me with growing repetition during the journey of the global pandemic here in the UK.

It seems to me humankind has become more and more inward rather than outward looking over the years.

As the restrictions enforced by the pandemic have continued, the more amplified our disregard for our duty to others seems to have grown.

By that I mean consideration of the potential consequences our actions can have on others.

Each week, local small patches of council green areas outside residential houses are scattered with litter comprising fast food wrappers but lately discarded alcohol bottles. I haven’t seen people having picnics on these areas so assume it’s household fly tipping by residents, or people returning from fun in the park with their friends.

Why? Each household in the UK has rubbish collection weekly. There is no need to spoil the environment for others through laziness and/or entitlement. If there is no public rubbish bin locally, or if there is one, it’s full – why can’t people take their rubbish home and put it in for their rubbish collection?

I don’t doubt this is happening in every part of the UK.

Clearly the thought of the right to personal enjoyment of the individuals dropping these items far outweighs any thought of their impact on others. Children play on these small greens. Pet dogs are taken for walks by their owners. Residents look at these green spaces from their windows – vital when housebound or shielding. Where is the thought for the impact on others – the anxiety and isolation caused by thoughtless, ‘my right’ attitudes?

We see this time and again on a larger scale when the sun is shining in the debris left behind in parks and at coastal spots. There is a huge cost in clearly this up.

We know the dangers to the environment of discarded rubbish which has been proven to get into our water tables and food chains. By discarding rubbish thoughtlessly instead of taking it home, those individuals are potentially affecting their health and that of the ones they love. Ironic isn’t it?

Isn’t now the time to start to think of our duty to consider the impact of our behaviours on others?

I caught a news item on Aljazeera this morning which posed  thought provoking, ethical questions about a vaccine for Coronavirus/Covid-19.

 

Who should be the guinea pigs for a potential vaccine trial?  We know someone has got to try it without knowing any side affects etc.  Is it right to trial it on healthy people and then expose them to the disease?  Is it right to trial it on those who are already sick?  I know I wouldn’t like to make this judgement call.

 

The question was then posed, once there is an effective vaccine, who gets it first?  The citizens of the country who discover it, the poorest countries with little access to healthcare, the healthiest population to prevent them getting ill keeping businesses going? medical staff, carers?

 

 

The world is a very small place.  People have friends, family, connections globally not just in the country in which they live.  We are used to travelling far and wide.  We know Coronavirus is related to the flu viruses and will be around now.  The genie is well and truly out of the bottle.  A quote I heard from  one of the speakers on AlJazeera this morning is ‘no one is safe until we are all safe’.

 

One thing is for sure, how humanity answers and acts on these questions will determine if humanity has a bright future or if it’s going to be a ‘me me me’ scenario.

 

What do you think?

 

 

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