How Responsible Are You?

So we’re traveling to Nairobi—yes people, the drive from Athi to Valley Road is travelling – and the “learned” guy seated in front of me opens the window and gingerly lets loose an empty pet can of soda. I’m not perfect, far from it, but littering just gets to me. Not just because of the environmental effect but majorly the sheer impenitence lacing the perpetrator’s demeanor.

Before you brand me a self-righteous critic, imagine a man or woman old enough to be your father or mother having to clean up after your grown-up brazen self. Whilst you may rebut my seemingly whimsical protest with the inane phrase, “but it’s their job,someone has to clean”, I could borrow words from my lecturer Mrs. Muthami saying “this is your world and there’s a limit to the abuse it can take, before it starts to cave via global warming and the calamities that come with it”. No she didn’t stop there but added, “…then you start blaming God when it’s we who have failed to take care of what God gave us custody of…”

I won’t pull the environmental card, Wangari Maathai sung that song. Instead I’ll play the morality card. How responsible are you? My pastor says “responsibility (or lack of it) starts from our bedrooms, when we wake up in the morning” (an unspiritual statement if you ask me). It starts with us, because if we would be audacious enough to stick gum under a pew, fart in an elevator, pull more toilet paper than we require, leave taps dripping, heaters and lights on unnecessarily, double parking, overlapping, speeding in residential areas, being unnecessarily loud, smugly queuing on the express counter pushing a trolley full of shopping, and suggestively gawking at someone’s wife or husband in their presence amongst other pet peeves then we have a long way to go.

Are we then incorrigible? Far from it, there’s hope for us yet. Gandhi said we are the change we want to see. If you want to have a responsible government and society, then be responsible yourself. Go on, turn the tap completely off, be considerate and use only what you require, for Pete’s sake do the right thing. It’ll take you 21 days to kick the old habits but before long the world around us will smile back.

By Asutsa Govedi


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