Changing the World

2018-05-17_snapping_turtle3.jpgI’m sure most people see things in our world that are in need of a major overhaul. I know I see lots of them. In my youth, I wasted a lot of energy trying to convince other people that my plan had long term benefits that would outweigh the short term costs. I eventually learned that my life was the only one over which I held significant sway, and so I had to lead by example. I conserve energy, pick up trash, and treat others the way I think we should treat one-another. I just hope the people around me see that doing the right thing can have significant, long term benefits.

I still wish I had a megaphone that would let me shout at the world and say, “What are you thinking?!”, but I know even that would have a very limited effect. The reality is that this world is one of our own making. It is a product of who we are as a collective. Sadly, it is a reflection on our entire species and our biological roots. It reflects our incredible abilities, and our limitations. As we evolve, so will our world. Unfortunately, I don’t think we will be ready to make the big changes that need to happen to avoid calamity.

We face so many hazards, it’s difficult to even speculate on what sort of cataclysmic event is going to strike first. It could be war, crop failures/famine, pandemic, sea level rise, economic collapse, a meteor strike, or something I haven’t even considered. I just hope people get their priorities straight and learn to care about one-another before we go off a cliff.

In the mean time, I don’t have the time or resources to change the world. I can only live my life the best way I know how and advocate for a cleaner, more peaceful world with less waste and more people who take the time to think about what they are doing and how it will impact our future.

We all need to deeply consider our choices. Someone will have to live in the mess we leave behind, and that someone will be just like us. My goal is to leave my little corner of the world a little better than I found it. I hope that is my legacy.

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Let’s Focus on Our Common Cause

DSC_0425smNobody wants to be judged by the way they look, the color of their skin, or the clothes they wear. As a white male, I realize I have benefited from white privilege. I can’t say exactly how, but I’m sure there were doors that were opened for me that I may have found closed, were I a different ethnicity.

Having said that, I never asked for special treatment, and I’ve always felt more at home with the outcasts than with the popular crowd. Growing up, I identified closely with Native Americans. I had an idealized idea of who they were. I wanted to live in harmony with the Earth and I thought the NA community was all about that. I was somewhat disillusioned by some of my subsequent encounters with NA people, but I still believe they understood the importance of a healthy, balanced ecosystem.

_DJT5874smAt the age of 20, I was protesting with the National Toxics Campaign against environmental degradation resulting from toxic chemicals. Now, 30 years later, I am closely allied with three environmental organizations, and my goal is still to live in harmony with nature. The more I learn, the better are my choices. Sometimes those choices aren’t easy or inexpensive. I limit myself to exploring nearby places, so I don’t waste fossil fuels. I bake in a SunOven, heat my water and power part of my home with solar energy, and I use rainwater for all of my outdoor water needs. If you read my blog, you know I’m always counting kilowatts.

_DJT5021smGetting back to the title of this blog entry, I find myself being attacked by people who should be my allies, because I’m white. I will unequivocally admit that I do not understand what it’s like to live someone else’s life; be they African American, Native American, from Louisiana, Canada, the Middle East, handicapped, bipolar, or what have you. Can we all admit that our experience is unique and we all have a somewhat different perspective on things? However, if we only ally ourselves with people who are very much like us, how are we going to make change in a world with seven billion unique people? We are all seeking a better life for ourselves and our descendants. We all have hopes and dreams. We all want to be accepted and loved.

_DJ23558smSpeaking for myself, I want to be accepted and loved. I need people in my life and I prefer people who don’t judge me by the color of my skin, my crooked teeth, or the length of my cutoffs. I am advocating for a cleaner, healthier planet for all of it’s inhabitants, not just people. I thought I might find allies among native people, but they see me and turn away because I can’t understand what it’s like to be them. They’re right. I can’t understand what it’s like to be a Native American, but I can understand what it’s like to be human, and I am working to clean up this mess we’re in. I hate what my ancestors did to minority groups. I hate that we slaughtered the buffalo and polluted the soil and water. I hate that we are still taking land from indigenous peoples and desecrating it. I hate that some police officers shoot first and think later; especially when their target is black. However, hate doesn’t bring solutions; people, working together in large enough numbers, can bring solutions. What I’m asking is simply, don’t look for our differences, but rather focus on what we have in common, and maybe we can bring about a better future.