I was following my normal humdrum “wake up” routine today and scrolled though my social media timelines when a video of our safe comfortable lives in the West was juxtaposed with the war and poverty in the East and across the African continent. This struck a cord with me, as my subconscious was already saturated with images of climate crisis, flooding, fires, starvation, plagues, disease and death. I felt compelled to write, because that’s what I can do. That’s my strength, the power of written word. Some will chastise me for not doing enough when they, themselves, have done nothing. But that’s okay, we all have our strengths and parts of play.
The global crisis is not slowing down and not going to let up any time soon. There is little consumers can really do as while some would say stop buying petrol cars or stop eating meat, the small difference we make as individuals really is not enough at this point. To reverse it, we have to all stop completely, at the same time. Slow reduction is different from a complete cease. Now by not buying petrol cars, that would not really impact us drastically either, as petrol cars aren’t the sole contributor, it’s actually industry. The manufacture of electric cars is also affecting the planet, along with the manufacture of the phones you’re reading this on and the laptop on which I typed it.
Consumers are lazy and industry is greedy. Is my contribution, the only contribution in my area, to recycling going to reverse anything? Impact anything? No? Yeah I thought so. It has to be mandatory for everyone to do it else the average Joe will just chose the easy or lazy way out. Remembering to recycle takes mental effort, it’s easier to just chuck it in the bin right?
One thing isn’t going to fix it. You cannot cherry pick the issues here. It has to be all or nothing. Want to slow the climate crisis? Then pack your essentials and live off the grid like a caveman. You can’t have electricity unless the appliances are not manufactured with limited resources or plastics, so your phone is bye bye. You can’t use any man-made materials as manufacturing this at mass scale has caused so much waste and pollution, so say goodbye to your warm man-made jacket. You will essentially go from self-proclaimed alpha predator to Barry the bear’s dinner in five seconds, or freeze to death. Maybe Barry like chilled meats? I don’t know.
So you see the issue here. Unless we completely stop, as a whole, that’s the only way to fix this, and that idea is not sustainable if we want to progress as a species. But what if there was something we could do, as a whole, that doesn’t impact the industries directly and could make the world better? There is… it’s a magic thing from a lost tale, a mystical state said to be legend and found only in remote magical places… it’s called gratitude.
True gratitude compels you to be a better person, and make everyone around you less miserable. Us in the West, myself included in this charade, have become so comfortable with life in this “safety” bubble that we have forgotten what human suffering is like. We wake up to a warm, clean house, get into our new cars, go to a cushy job that we get a good salary for, cook or eat more food than our great-grandparents ever ate, and all we do is complain. We complain that the soft bed isn’t soft enough, or the traffic made you 2 minutes later than you’d expect, or the food isn’t good enough because it’s not exactly tailored to your precise tastebuds.
Meanwhile, there are people who woke up this morning to find their neighbourhood gone. There are people who didn’t even wake up. You’re awake and reading this, how have you been grateful today? Did you help someone who needed you today? No? Yes, feel guilty. It’s our responsibility to raise each other so we elevate as a species. Ignore the handful of idiots who believe they are better than others. You don’t need that negativity in your life.
The next time you consume so much food that you’re willing to waste the crusts off your bread or not eat your vegetables because you “can’t be arsed”, remember those who are starving would literally kill you for your trash, because that crust means survival for those people. How many of us toss our McD’s chips into the bin because they’re “butters”? I’m guilty of it, so I personally stopped buy it. But the waste is there. Being more mindful about the world in general will help you to become a better person overall.
Let’s all take a moment in our safe country to appreciate it. Every country has tasted war, famine, plague, and death. Maybe not in your living memory, but it’s all in recent history. This state of “safe” will not last forever, so be appreciative of the world around you. Don’t complain as much about things that won’t matter in 24 hours. Be thankful that you have a comfortable roof over your head and food in your belly. Do something to make life somewhere else better, whether that is through giving food, money, or spreading awareness with the skillset you’re given.
We complain about how selfish and self-centred society has become but we often forget to look within.
Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?