I might be exaggerating slightly, but I’ll leave that for you to decide.
I was taking a walk with my mom and little sister, and we passed a fire hydrant that was leaking. It wasn’t gushing water like someone had done it on purpose (and I know that’s technically illegal, but if I had a bucket list, “play in an open fire hydrant” just may be on it) but it was trickling out and was clearly not supposed to be like that. So we did what anyone would do: continue walking to go get ice cream.
On the way back, we noticed the hydrant was still leaking and decided, since we were 40 yards from the fire station, to tell someone there about it. After all, it was wasting water. Wouldn’t the people at the fire department like to know that? Don’t they care about Earth Day?
When we told the firefighter who finally came to the door (after we stood there for a few minutes arguing about whether it was worth it to go all the way around to the back door), we thought he would break into a huge grin and tell us how glad he was that we had gone out of our way to save the earth.
What he actually did was look slightly confused and say, “Okay.”
People aren’t naturally inclined to put effort into fixing things in their vicinity just because someone has made them aware of the issue. If they were, we’d have no use for volunteer organizations; everyone would just automatically go do things that needed being done–no application process, no orientation necessary.
I’m not going to pretend for a second that I’m the exception. I’m too focused on myself lately to even feel guilty for not spending time helping others. But when it comes to something simple like telling a firefighter about a hydrant, or fixing that hydrant if you’re a firefighter, I guess I still do assume that most people will do the right thing. So even though the firefighter reacted as if he had no intention to go out and fix that hydrant, I have to believe that after we left, he did it. I have to think despite the evidence to support the fact that people want nothing to do with anything involving effort unless they can immediately and directly benefit from it, most people, if given the chance, will surprise you.
If I didn’t think that, it would be hard to make it through the day. And there would certainly be no hope for the earth.