I find myself worrying about where the world is heading. The simple pleasures of life like …cooking, walking, fishing, cycling …. seem to be losing ground to Deliveroo and gaming. I know I’m being very simplistic here and I know I’m generalising but I keep coming across examples of strange behaviour and am trying to find reasons for what’s going on in the general population.
Obviously, lock down has made a huge impact on people’s behaviour and perhaps the staycation crew are at the heart of my discontent. Maybe it’s the people that were holidaying in Benidorm that are now camping round the corner from my cottage in the Peak District that are skewing my perceptions of what people are like.
I live in a cottage in a small village (name withheld) in a national park, where the land to the rear is private. The land is owned by an estate which is privately owned and privately funded…yet… I have lost count of the times that I have come across people walking, camping, barbecuing or even using the land as a toilet. When these people are challenged, they immediately get abusive, immediately jump straight into telling me their ‘rights to roam’ and usually threaten me with their solicitor. They often film their arguments and are obviously looking for Tik Tok footage.
Walking along a nearby quiet river where I have often seen kingfishers …I now see paddle borders, wild swimmers, canoeists and people building fires in the middle of a nature reserve. Again, when challenged they all assume that they have ‘rights’ and that they can do whatever they please.
Driving along quiet roads, I see picnickers having lunch in the strangest of locations. Not something that really bothers me until later in the day when driving back past these locations I see litter and burnt-out BBQ trays.
I see people going for walks in high heels, carrying inflatable dinghies and small tents. Again, what people wear on their feet is none of my business… but when later on the day you find the discarded tent and a dingy on the river bed …it just breaks my heart.
I go fly fishing in these local rivers and pay a significant fee to do so. The membership pays for a river keeper who monitors the water, maintains the banks and generally carries out works to encourage fish spawning and continuation of the trout lifecycle.
Yet again though, I get continually challenged by ignorant town folk who feel they have the right to challenge my right to fish. They quote the pain and suffering to the fish that I’m causing and the ban on hunting that they voted for. Yet without the fishing fees there would be no river keeper. Without a river keeper the waters would be emptied by poachers and the waters get clogged with rubbish and detritus from the visitors that pay no heed to the damage they cause. Without money being put into these rivers, we will have no trout for visitors or kingfishers …it’s a fairly simple equation.
I don’t really know what point I’m making here other than seeing a general decline in the world. Yes, lots of people are shouting about Cop26 because it seems very on point at the moment…. but all I’m seeing is an attitude of ‘me, me, me..’
Boris Johnson shouting about ‘one minute to midnight’ for carbon emissions – then he jumps on a private plane to go to a party in London.
Until politicians set a better example, we have no chance.
Until people stop leaving litter on the road side and generally abusing countryside that they’re coming to see… I don’t see how the larger environment issues will ever be tackled.
There just appears to be a tide of crap to wade through.