You tell me. Watch this video and let's talk about it.
I absolutely loved this video when I first saw it (thanks to Laura from The Mindful Merchant for posting it back in March). While I'd hate to be in the spotlight like that and would probably freak out a little receiving a standing ovation in such a public area, it is nevertheless awesome that the folks who make the Testé sur des humains TV show came up with this flash mob idea. Briefly, the show features staged situations (with show hosts and guests as actors) that are meant to elicit a reaction from the public to test out whether everyday people are willing to step outside of their comfort zone. In essence, the show explores the human condition, and it's definitely a thought-provoking version of reality TV.
So, does recycling deserve applause? Did the woman in the video feel motivated to keep up the good work in her personal life, perhaps to take on a more challenging green lifestyle change? It's hard to say. I'm not sure exactly what matters here: recycling, or understanding that we share the responsibility for keeping public spaces clean? Maybe some of the people who came before the woman are avid recyclers but feel no need to tidy up after someone else. I'm sure at least one of those people believes it's the cleaning staff's duty, so why bother? From a scientific perspective, there are too many variables that can't be accounted for, making it difficult to pinpoint why one woman did what tens or dare I say hundreds of others did not do. However, I'd like to believe that if green behaviour was more appreciated in the same way that acts by good Samaritans are praised, we'd live in a cleaner world.