Act or Adapt: The Environment

As much as we may like to think we control our own destiny, there are always forces around us that change the way we interact with the environment. One example is what happened to Scott Kelly after 520 days in space. Kelly’s gut bacteria changed significantly. His DNA changed too. We understand the changes because Scott’s twin, Mark Kelly, cooperated with NASA to act as a benchmark.

Zero gravity environments aren’t the only way the environment affects actions. Stevyn Colgan was a police officer in London for thirty years. There he saw all kinds of cases and one common complaint was about teenagers. Teenagers threatened the young and old alike. Both groups were intimidated by loitering adolescents. In one instance, there were a pair of soccer pitches separated by a highway with a tunnel connecting the two. The teens took the closer pitch for soccer and the tunnel for their locker room. The youths weren’t supposed to venture to the far field and wouldn’t if they could because the teens would pick on them in the tunnel. The eldery felt threatened too.

Colgan could have addressed the kids and convinced them of their error. Good luck with that.

Colgan could have changed the rules of the neighborhood too. Also a lot of work for limited changed.

Instead, Colgan changed the environment. He turned the one nearby pitch into small fields with small goals. The teens didn’t want to play there anymore. They also didn’t loiter in the tunnel. Outside ourselves is our building and outside our building is the environment. How these three parts fit together makes things easier, or not.