Beware! Its Not In My Backyard Syndrome


When I was in class seventh, I was first introduced to this term, ‘Not in my backyard’ or the NIMBY syndrome in my environment class. This was the term that was used to define the common attitude of the people towards environment. People don’t really think about dumping the waste in the right place until and unless it is dumped in their backyards. They often tend to dump things carelessly without giving a second thought about its adverse impact on environment in general because they think it is not their environment in particular and is everybody’s environment in general so why they should be the only ones to bother about its well being. Though there are certain people which participate actively in keeping our surroundings clean but the general tendency is the same and the result of it is not hidden from our eyes. Our once clean and balanced environment has undergone so many disturbances due to these carefree activities that almost every year at least one part of the world or more witnesses a natural disaster and that is quite obvious also. If we are going to harm nature, nature too has its own ways of punishing us.


Though this syndrome was explained with reference to our attitude towards environment but giving it a second thought, is it not the kind of attitude that people have inculcated in their daily lives as well? It is our common experience that we are least bothered if there is any problem in say our neighbor’s family and in order to show that we care we would often come up with some wild suggestions and really do not care whether it would work towards solving their problem or not but as soon as the same problem occurs with us, we can go beyond our limits to redress them because the only thing that we are concerned with is only ‘us’. There are various social issues that have and is deteriorating our society and the only people who are responsible for it is us and the only ones who have the capability to redress them is us but talking about us, we think that it is not our society alone, it belongs to everybody else as well and talking about indemnifying the problems our most common statement is like, “Oh c’mon!! We have a lot of our personal issues to deal with. Who has such idle time to think about others or probably the issues of the society when we ourselves are stuck in the web of our own problems?”


I agree all of us do have a lot of issues in our personal life and these problems perturb us every now and then but then the place we are living in is also a kind of our family and just like we solve our family issues, we should actively participate in solving the issues of others as well. Whenever somebody shares his problem with us, we should feel obliged and lucky. It is because of his immense faith in us that makes him share his problem with us and that expects us to provide him with solutions. Just imagine how much he will be hurt when he sees that instead of helping him, we do not even show any interest in his problem. Keeping aside these issues, we even hesitate to participate in the situations which call for our humane participation. Say for example, an accident has taken place a crowd of people gathers around the victim and also starts fighting with the person who has hit the victim but when it comes to giving a statement to the police as witness, only a very few of them participate in it because according to them they do not want to get involved in any of the cases involving police and that to because of somebody they do not know personally. The same happens with the reporting of the crime scenes as well.


Every action has its implications too and so does this have. The carefree and narcissistic attitude has resulted in diminishing the moral values of the people. Nobody helps other without seeing any profit in their help. Everybody has become more of business minded; they first calculate the profit of their investment and only then help others otherwise they don’t. So, until and unless you help others you should not expect anybody else to help you. This is analogous to the condition of environment; just like we are paying for our actions in the form of disasters, global warming etc. in the environment, similarly we will have to pay for our actions in the society as well. According to one of the verses of the holy book of the Hindus i.e. ‘Bhagwad Gita’, Lord asks man to continue executing his responsibilities towards all the living beings and also towards himself and his family members without bothering about its fruits for it is lord himself that will praise you for your good actions and will punish you for your bad deeds. So, the only duty of the man is to execute his responsibilities, but in today’s picture, this act is never witnessed. We only bother to do those things that will bear us fruits and we escape ourselves from doing deeds that are non-profitable.


Since exceptions are always there, still there are some people who do work for others’ welfare without having the thought of their own profit in their mind and we should try to imbibe these qualities in ourselves also because these are the qualities of a real human being. The basic purpose of humanity is to serve others and today we are refraining ourselves from its very basic purpose. I agree that our own happiness is always our first priority and nobody can deny the fact but after seeking our own happiness, let us actively work for others’ welfare too. That will not only earn us a smile but also seek us respect and the goodwill of the person. Each and every one of us has to complete his/her pre-defined duration on this earth so, why not make it worthwhile by helping other, working for others because it is an animal tendency to feed only himself but humanity is always ready to extend a helping hand to others.

Once one of the disciples asked Saint Augustine,” Sir, what does love look like?” to which he replied, “What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to poor and the needy. It has the eyes to see the misery and wants and it has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrow of men. That is what love looks like.”

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