Resistance to change is such a fascinating phenomena. We see it in all sorts of ways and places. I’m not immune to it myself. We all have things we like or are attached to.
But at some point, if we want ‘things’ to be different, we can’t just sit and hope and pray, (if that’s your thing), we have to do. We have to know different. Do different. That’s how these mysterious ‘things’ non-miraculously change.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not great at it myself at times. I resist all kinds of things I don’t like or agree with or don’t want to be different, for all kinds of reasons, so I’m by no means writing this from my ivory tower.
But there’s such a thing as ‘low hanging fruit’… the stuff that’s relatively easy to do. Or at least should be. And a recent article about banning balloons, (below), or more importantly, the social media reaction to it, is a great example of this. We know for a fact balloons that are released into the air, land somewhere. We know when they land, the bits that are left become litter. And if they land in the ocean in particular, they not only take longer to break down, usually years, they often cause harm to marine life in the meantime.
So where’s the real resistance to banning helium balloons? If you’re five, no more balloons may seem tragic. If you’re an adult – who doesn’t make a living from selling balloons – how is this cause for outrage? Imagine explaining to a young child, that the reason they can’t have a balloon any more is because it might harm or kill a dolphin or turtle. Do you know how many kids would still want a balloon? Zero. You know why? Because they’re usually less assholey than adults. They get it. Animals are awesome. Killing them with balloons is not. Not complicated at all.
If we said, let’s throw a few plastic bags in the ocean because it’s fun, most reasonable, rational people would say that’s probably not on. It’s litter. It’s a fucking dumb thing to do, plain and simple.
Is it the biggest waste issue facing humanity right now? Of course not. Does that mean we shouldn’t still fix it if it’s an easy get, if it’s ‘low hanging fruit’? Of course we should fucking fix it. What will it actually ‘cost’ to do the right thing here? Will we really have less fun?
The ‘Fun Police’ sound bite is a fun one to drag out, but we all know they’re not really a thing. The objective here, the outcome, has nothing to do with fun, or stopping it, and everything to do with making the world better. Somewhat ironically, better for our kids. Presumably the ones who may or may not grow up wanting balloons – depending on what we do now. And may or may not grow up with animals like dolphins and sea turtles still alive in our oceans.
I’m reading Russel Brand’s ‘Revolution‘ at the moment and it references the term ‘Cradle-to-Cradle’. The concept was simple: ‘Cradle-to-Grave’, the more often used term, is short sighted. It means our vision stops when we do. ‘Cradle-to-Cradle’, however, forces us to recognise what happens next. The legacy we leave. The next generation. The ones who are kids now. In years to come, I wonder what they’d rather have – balloons? Or dolphins? Not that it’s quite as simplistic as that, but it’s not far off it.
These choices aren’t being made now to stop fun, and framing the argument that way is, quite frankly, A-grade fuckwittery. It’s convenient. It’s easy. It’s popular. But it’s inaccurate. And it’s fuckwittery of the highest order.
Many years ago, in Australia at least, kids were being injured (and possibly killed?) playing with fireworks. You know what we did about it? The dreaded ‘Fun Police’ came and said we couldn’t have fun with fireworks anymore. Except back then, I’m not sure we had the same level of outrage, perhaps because kids are valued more than dolphins. (Weird, cause dolphins are pretty fucking rad.) Or perhaps because we didn’t have social media to fire up our outrage. Perhaps we just didn’t get outraged on behalf of other people about things we didn’t actually personally give a shit about. Like whether or not helium balloons are a thing or not.
How this issue is even a conversation, an issue, is actually a bit beyond me. And quite how many ‘Balloon Enthusiasts’ we suddenly have here in South Australia lamenting this proposal, is equally fucking astonishing.
Lots of things are fucked up. Some are harder to fix than others. This particular one requires very little change, and it still gets resistance. Sometimes, we all need to take a chill pill, step back, and look at things with fresh eyes and an open mind, or heart, and decide where we stand. And just as importantly, why we stand where we do.Not just about balloons, about everything.
Why are we so set in stone with our beliefs? Do we really believe that with all our heart, or are we jumping on the Fun Police, or some other, bandwagon? Is there room for a bit of a belief ‘stocktake’? Is it time to firesale some old beliefs, and get some new ones? I suspect it probably is.
Be awesome to each other. And the planet. <3