Thursday, May 23, 2019

Changes in Attitude

When I traveled on business to South American about 12 years ago, I noticed something: there was litter everywhere. Okay, maybe not everywhere, but it seemed to be a lot of if.

And it reminded me of when I was a kid in the U.S., there was litter almost everywhere. That was the 1960s (yes, I'm old). But two things happened. 1) they made it against the law (or increased the penalties) to litter and 2) they started an ad campaign against littering. That included this iconic commercial. And people's attitudes about littering changed and now you rarely see much litter in the U.S. (Go to Canada, there's zero litter.)

Same thing happened with seat belts. When I was a kid, no one wore seat belts. That continued into the mid 1980s. Then, once again, attitudes changed. There were ads about the benefits of wearing seat belts and states passed laws making it illegal to not wear them. Now I wear them religiously (feels weird to be in a car and not wear them). My kids have never known a time when you didn't wear seat belts.

Drunk driving use to be a joke. Then, once again, attitudes shifted when laws were made more draconian and there were campaigns against it. And drunk driving deaths have fallen. Again, when I was in South America, drunk driving was no big deal. A customer driving me to dinner said his car was a hybrid. I asked how that was possible (it was a Hyundai minivan-like thing not sold in the U.S.). He said, "gas in the car and alcohol in me." Believe me, I wore my seat belt on that trip.

So public attitudes can change. I've lived long enough to see it happen. Or maybe people just don't want to pay the penalties.

No comments:

Post a Comment