Raising Awareness Without Preaching
The human condition is constantly evolving, which may be news to those who believe it to be shallow and self-obsessed. As time goes on, the way we look at things is influenced both by the past and by the needs of the present. So while the 80s were considered to be a cynical time, and the 90s were about activism, the last decade became something in between the two – keen to do right, but terrified of appearing earnest and preachy.
This can be seen in a lot of the awareness movements and even charity telethons of the past decade. Although the issue of doing the right thing is always implicit in such movements, the underlying impression was that participants were keen to give a message of “Yes, I’m being noble, but I don’t want you to think that I am noble myself, so I will gently mock myself while doing so”. We are almost scared of appearing to care about something, so we mock ourselves before anyone else gets the chance.
In environmental terms this is often a matter of people saying “I’m just taking this to the recycling bank – yes, I’m one of those people, I’m sorry.”. Should we really be scared of being seen to care? Perhaps not. However, as the human condition changes with time, it might not be a bad way of going about things. It makes people think “I may be a little cynical about the issue, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do anything at all to help”. Better a participating cynic than someone who cares but won’t dare appear to.