Houston airport had a problem.
Passengers were complaining about how long they had to wait at baggage claim for their bags.
We've all been there. Tired and frustrated after having navigated airport security, sat through a draining flight and once again being forced to wait for our bags in what feels like an exercise in inefficiency.
In order to address the complaints the airport management did something genius.
They moved the baggage claim.
This meant passengers had to walk further to get the baggage claim, but more time walking is less time standing around waiting.
Sure enough, the number of complaints dropped.
The amount of time it took for the bags to appear did not change.
All they had to do was reframe the situation.
What does it all mean?
Recently I've been thinking a lot about reducing the amount of waste I produce (see Zero Waste Wednesday).
Whenever I talk to people about it I encounter a not unsurprising amount of resistance.
"I couldn't do that," is a common response, as is "I don't really care that much".
Then there are those that say something like:
"What's the point? I might reduce my waste consumption but what about everyone else? Me reducing my waste won't but a dent in the overall global amount produced."
It's this last response that I want to address.
In most movements that require global participation the resistance takes the form of "can I make a difference?"
I think this is the wrong question to ask. I think a better way to think about it is "Am I part of the problem?"
That shifts the perspective of the whole thing.
It's easy to say "I can't make a difference", but are you happy to say "I'm ok with being part of the problem"?
Especially when the problem will result in an environmental and ecological disaster, the extinction of many species of animals and the death and suffering of millions of people.