Are You Socially Responsible?
A Heavy Question for Sure
Before we begin, let me borrow from my good friends at Wikipedia for a definition:
“Social responsibility is an ethical theory that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act to benefit society at large.”
I was reading, recently, an online article about the drought in California, and steps that are being taken by that state. Los Angeles, for example, is offering $3 for every square foot of grass that is replaced by more drought tolerant plants or even rocks.
I silently applauded the political leaders of Los Angeles for taking that step, but then I started wondering why people needed that incentive in the first place. I mean, this drought in the western states is serious. Water shortages are frightening, and brush and forest fires are raging as I write this article. Wouldn’t it seem to you that citizens would stop watering their lawns out of a sense of social responsibility? Why do they have to receive a cash reward before doing the right thing?
I then got a firm grasp on reality and realized that not everyone believes in social responsibility. In fact, a quick look around you will convince you that very few people actually believe in it.
The Theory of Social Responsibility
It’s not often a writer quotes Carrie Underwood, but this one just did and I’m proud of it. J
As I was doing my research on social responsibility, I found it interesting that most articles about that subject were related to corporate social responsibility and not individual.
“…..an obligation to act to benefit society at large.”
It seems to me that a community will never reap the full benefits of being a community unless individual citizens embrace this theory. I would love to tell you that I have great faith in our government, but I do not. I would love to tell you that I have great faith in the major corporations, but I do not.
In fact, my faith in my fellow men and women is waning at this moment, but it has not totally disappeared.
I took a trip through the detritus of my past, and it was not a pleasant trip. I was remembering fishing trips I took when I was younger. We always packed a cooler with beer and soda, the cans held together in six-packs by those little plastic rings, and when we had finished a six-pack we would toss those rings over the side of the boat and let them float off to do their damage to the sea life around us.
Today I would never dream of doing such a thing, just as I would never dream of dumping motor oil down the sewer drain, or hundreds of other irresponsible actions that could hurt the environment. And yet millions of people still do those things. They are aware of the damage they are causing but still they do it.
GMOs AND OTHER THINGS
Is there anyone in the United States who does not know about genetically modified foods and the danger to health that they impose? Still, millions of Americans go to the grocery store weekly and buy the products that are harmful to them. Companies like Monsanto have completely shirked their social responsibility for the sake of profit, and yet we support them.
Is that socially responsible?
Rachel Carson warned us back in the 60s of the dangers of pesticides, and yet RoundUp continues to rack up millions in profits because citizens deem it more important that they kill weeds rather than they protect the environment.
Is there doubt in anyone’s mind that we are rapidly depleting our supply of crude oil? Then why do people insist on buying large SUVs and trucks with V8 or, God forbid, V12 engines?
Is it really possible that people simply don’t care?
I've had people tell me they can't be bothered recycling because it is such a hassle.
I've had people tell me that sex trafficking is someone else's concern and not their's.
Unemployment? Homelessness? Hate crimes? They can't be bothered with such nonsense because it does not directly affect them.
And the Beat Goes On
We cry about the high cost of medical care but do very little to live a healthy lifestyle. We cry because our foods are poisoned and yet we do not support local farmers and in fact complain about the high cost of organic foods. We cry because our politicians refuse to listen to us and act on our needs, but half of us can’t be bothered to make an appearance on voting day.
We piss and moan about the sorry state of education in this country, but it never dawns on us to take part in overhauling the system. We demand that the military keep us safe, and yet could care less when hundreds of thousands of retired military personnel are homeless on the streets. We decry police brutality and political corruption, but not once do we attend city council meetings and demand change.
We teach our children to be good little citizens and yet model exactly the opposite.
We pray in our churches and give to the collection plates, memorizing our Ten Commandments and singing the hymns, then go out into the real world and act uncivilized.
I say enough whining about corporate social responsibility. When are we going to embrace it as individuals?
A new generation???
Do you feel that you are socially responsible?
Food for Thought
“….an obligation to benefit society at large.”
We can begin today, or we can continue to be one of the sheeple, plodding through life, hoping to be left alone in our safe little cocoons. We can begin today, choosing our actions according to the common good…the benefit of society at large, or we can continue to allow greed and selfishness to be our guiding stars.
Do not blame the politicians. We voted them into office and we continue to do so.
Do not blame the corporations. We feed their bank accounts by purchasing their products and services.
In fact, quit blaming anyone or anything, and get busy being a part of the solution.
Let me tell you about something that happened this last weekend. My wife and I took a walk down to the Farmer’s Market. During the five mile round trip, we made it a point to greet everyone we met during the walk. We ended up making eye contact and saying hello to thirty-two people along the way. We were met with an occasional look of suspicion, but for the most part we were greeted, in return, with smiles and genuine wishes of health and prosperity.
We passed a park bench situated under a large tree, an inviting place to rest on a hot day. Sitting on that bench was a homeless man reading a novel by John Sandford. We stopped and greeted him, and I had a short discussion with him about the book, which I had read and enjoyed. We were gifted with the greatest smile you could ever hope to see. In a nation seemingly filled with strangers, someone had taken the time to talk to this homeless man, and his gratitude was apparent and heartwarming.
I do not mention that story because I want a pat on the back, for a pat on the back is not deserved when all I was doing was being human.
Social responsibility begins with me.
I cannot point fingers if I’m not willing to be a part of the solution.
Social responsibility begins with you.
H.O.W. are you going to be part of the solution?
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)