I have a confession to make. When I was young I used to leave on lights. I was told that people starved somewhere in the world, but somehow I didn't quite believe it.
photo via eeeasterling
|I felt like I was only told such things as a fear or guilt tactic the "oh you have it so good you don't even know" (and I didn't!) or the "you could have it worse" which would be followed by something being taken away from me. I had a good upbringing. I was taken care of by loving parents who taught me good values and yet, I was still selfish -I could not see myself in others.|
So, today I have compassion for those that do not see themselves connected to the world, to not only the people but every aspect of of it. I think if someone were to have told me when I was a child, "hey look, the paper you are using comes from trees in the Amazon that we are teaching you is being slashed and burned by the second" … if someone told me, "hey it is your behavior that could possibly make or break the stability of life on Earth" …. a "yes! just by keeping the lights on, YOU are making life potentially inhabitable for the future beings of Earth" I actually think I would have paid more attention. I feel that the last time major environmental awareness efforts were made in my schooling it was in elementary school. Although we were being taught what was happening, there was no connection made for us of how to resolve these problems by modifying our behavior, MY behavior. Perhaps people didn't really know? Or maybe our educators did not know how to communicate the connection … either way, there were missing links which I feel have held us back as a society. Surely, I am not the only one that feels this way … and I grew up in a nice community and in a household that recycled … that was then … today there are households that don't recycle.
So how do we remedy the situation? Awareness first, sure. However if you are reading this blog … you are already tuned in on some level to what's going on. It is now up to YOU to help the rest of us educators/activists/writers (whatever you want to call us) bring the message out to others. However, even into my early twenties, environmentalists just seemed to be white noise. "Yeah yeah …I'll try to be a better person". Fear is not a good tactic although I cannot say I do not ever fall prey to it's siren song. So HOW do we educate? Well … I think the future will have to be lead through visualizations. Of course as yogi, visualization is a common meditation technique which I recognize in all spiritual practices as well as secular techniques such as NLP etc. Visualization works and we need to learn to be guides. Take on the challenge to broaden your scope this holiday season. A lot of times we try to avoid thoughts of despair and suffering. I suggest we try to concentrate for a second exactly on that. What do we know about suffering in this world? Think about it. Think of every example you can possibly imagine. Where does this lie? Where does it come from? If you think you know some of the causes, create those links in your mind. Think about animals suffering from hunting, think of people starving in remote countries, think of the people starving not far from where you live. Think of the world's rivers and ocean that are being polluted –think of all of these as yours.
If you need help searching for ways to broaden your scope of awareness in this world try some of these links/ ideas:
1) Please! visit the PETA website. If but just once in your lifetime. Please do it some justice and browse around. I only ask you do this once www.peta.org
2) Check out these short 2 minute movies www.themeatrix.com
3) Do a search for non-profits … check out what they stand for and WHY. Here's an easy resource to find charities: www.wiserearth.org
I think you will start to see something in common … what we call "resources" and our use of them, our lack of them, our mismanagment of them. Resources can even be your own personal energy or what you consider love. Think about it. A shelter animal can come from a person that had a lack of concern and love for it, possibly due to a person somehow feeling others have a lack of concern and love for them. It's all connected. We need to visualize big but start by imagining yourself in someone else's shoes. But please don't despair … the second part of this is that you now need to visualize solutions to problems. What can YOU do to make the world a better place?
Now I want you to understand this …we are one species. Our species gives birth to over 67K new people overnight. For a good perspective on our population explosion, please visit Dr. Jeff on Blog the Universe by going to this website: http://blogontheuniverse.org/2009/06/02/weekly-challenge-2-people-people-everywhere/
Although it's wonderful that we have new members to our societies every day … just think … the resources of the planet are fixed, yet we still increase, exponentially; just overnight. Think …if you did nothing about this, then most likely other people are doing nothing as well. We cannot expect others to do that which we will not do ourselves. I am not sure we can erradicate suffering but we sure can alleviate it with some of our own actions and I believe we we can eliminate most of it if only we realized together each and every one of us counts, each and every one of us can make a difference. So! What will we see if YOU do nothing? We will see more of YOU's doing nothing then as the ratio of YOU's increase with the population and therefore we will see more suffering. I offer you these quotes to ponder:
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" -Gandhi (because you can't rely on anyone else) –I based my company, Green Wave on this quote
"If success or failure of this planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do… HOW WOULD I BE? WHAT WOULD I DO?" -Buckminster Fuller
For a visual perspective of our demand on the Earth watch The Story of Stuff, it's short -20 minutes. Then, think again about how many people are coming into this world. We need a shift, literally of consciousness on many of our theories on how we define and utilize resources, how we consume, how we dispose, how we eat, how we interact with each other, and every element of creation for that matter.
Although I brought up suffering we now need to visualize a bright future. Like John Lennon said, Imagine … imagine a world where (you fill in the blank) … imagine a world where all the people … and so how do we get here? How do we teach this? Dream it. Dreams infer not just visualization but a "want". Want a better future, earnestly.
I understand us giving to the world often starts with us. We need to feel loved and we need to feel like we have enough of our own energy and happiness to extend out to others. We need to be uplifted so try something like this, the World Gratitude experiment www.worldgratitude.com –This website will help you visualize; will help you dream. In some capacity, visualize. Do this, practice this, teach this … pass it on.
For the holidays this year visualize a dream for the future, then share it.
"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality" –John Lennon
You an follow me on Twitter @GreenGeisha / Or please visit my website for Green Wave and see how you can make A World of a Difference at www.inspiringwavesofchange.org