When is it okay to tell someone to change their behaviour?

This has happened many times last summer and during the fall. I´m walking on the street and just happen to notice a line of taxis by a taxi-stand. And the humming sound of the engine of a car.

So I knock on the closed car-window. “Excuse me, why haven´t you turned off the engine while you are just waiting?”. I just couldn’t resist asking. I didn’t get any answer but the engine was turned off.

I keep blogging about my own eco-choices. But what do I think when other people don’t make those eco-choices? I rarely comment other people´s behavior, I don´t expect everyone to agree with me on everything.

But there are a few exceptions: when people do something I find absolutely stupid I can´t keep my mouth shut. They might be small things but if they are unnecessary enough it makes them stupid. When an action is a pure sign of a laziness that does not do good in any way, I just can´t let it go.

We have a fantastic bottle-recycling system in Finland, you get money for bringing them back to the store! If you don’t have time to do it, you can usually leave your bottle in the street and someone who want´s money will pick it up and bring it back to the store. It´s hard to describe my anger when I see people throwing these bottles in the mixed waste. It´s throwing away money, it´s throwing away a poor persons possibility to get money by returning the bottle and it´s throwing away recyclable material! You know what annoys me? That the people thoughless enough to do this probably won´t read my blog. But you, my dear reader, feel free to tell them to stop.

Most days when I go home from my uni Hanken I have a few bottles with me with which I can buy dinner. Not that I couldn’t afford dinner otherwise haha. If I´m not going to the store, I give the bottles to beggars on the street.

I tell complete strangers to stop throwing away bottles and I tell complete strangers to stop having their cars run on idle. I don’t ask the taxi-drivers to turn off the engine now in the winter because I know they want to keep the heating on in the car. I can understand that, we live in Finland and it can be quite cold. But in the summer there is absolutely no excuse, not to mention it is actually illegal to run your engine idle for more than 2 minutes. So far every taxi-driver I have asked to turn off the engine has done so.

I don´t know if people change their behavior also when I´m not around but I just can´t stand and watch. If someone hit a child in public or shouted racist comments I would consider intervening, even if it could be dangerous to say or do something. But in the cases of bottles and taxis it won´t even be dangerous for me to say something, so why not? Some people run their car on idle for 15 minutes in the spring when the temperature is perfect and throw away bottles with a pledge, and I can´t change everyone. But I hope and wish that at least my comment makes the person question their ways at least a little. Who knows if they change their ways? And even if they don´t, my comments would hardly make their behavior worse.

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