One of the first things we learn in management 101 is that if we are given
the authority to delegate, it does not absolve us from responsibility.
Listening to the news this morning, a lot of us seem to forget that.
Consider for a moment those areas that are critical to us that we seem happy
to delegate and dismiss. This month, the “Red List” of birds in
danger was published. It now stands at 70, compared to 36 in 1996, out of a
total population of less than 250 species, or around a third. What are we so
busy with that we do not notice that trend for ourselves?
Or perhaps the furore and anger around where, when, and how we socialise
during this Christmas season. We have a wealth of data, just as with Omicron
none of us can yet predict its impact. We have enough information to decide
without being told, and to balance the risk we face individually against that
we expose others to.
And then there is the wellbeing – mental, physical, and financial of those
around us. We do not need reports to identify the trends we sense.
There is a responsibility in noticing, because if we notice something we
have to decide as to what to do about it. When we’re busy, it’s often easier
not to notice.
The data is valuable, but secondary. If we fall off a high building, we do
not need to assemble the data to know it’s probably not going to end well. So
it is with biodiversity, mental health, poverty, and climate change.
We would do well to take the time to notice first-hand, rather than delegate
it to news channels and social media, because that condemns us to a life in
virtual reality, created by other people with their own agendas.
We are responsible for what happens next.