I believe that Earth is a collectively conscious being, made up of all living organisms who inhabit it. From humans to single-celled microbes, our shared experiences culminate into an amassed wealth of knowledge, which is passed down unto future generations. As time progresses, so does the maturity of Earth’s collective conscience…ideally speaking, that is.
Problems of Today
We humans are a self-absorbed and bratty bunch. There is no mistaking this. We seek to obtain the latest and greatest in everyday products such as cell phones, cars and clothes. We use media of all forms to spread hatred and boost our own egos. We wage unnecessary wars in the search for money and power. And we continue to alter and destroy Earth’s ecosystem for our own personal gain.
Ironically, our fight for climate change is selfish in and of itself. Our main concern is not for the health of our ecosystem, but for the survival of our own species. I love Mother Nature and the planet that we are ever so lucky to call home, but I would be lying if I said that my desire for Climate Action has no selfish intent. I want the human race to flourish! However, the reality of the matter is that regardless of whatever impact we make and whatever happens to us, the Earth will recover. This is evident through the aftermath of “the World’s worst nuclear accident”, Chernobyl. A massive nuclear explosion: what could be more damaging to our planet?
According to Alex Thornton in his online article for the World Economic Forum on “Chernobyl today”, “parts of the exclusion zone have become a haven for biodiversity.” Plant and animal life adapted to the increase in radiation and over 30 years following the nuclear meltdown, species are able to thrive in the absence of human life. Today, parts of Chernobyl may now be considered wildlife sanctuaries! If what I say is true, that we humans are selfish beings, then we should care more for the wellbeing of our planet than the blatant disregard that we have for it today. At the end of his article, Thornton closes with a claim: “the effects of the world’s worst nuclear disaster may be less damaging to the natural world than the continuing presence of people.” I couldn’t agree more, Alex.
We go about our daily lives with little regard for the ramifications on the ‘collective conscience’, and there is no one to blame for these issues but ourselves. Let me be clear, when I say the ‘collective conscience’, I mean ALL living beings. By cutting off our air supply through deforestation, and suffocating the World via the gases that we emit, we are harming the ‘collective conscience’. Climate change is just the tip of the melting iceberg. As I mentioned before, we find plenty of other ways to hurt each other and the common good. What we do not realize is that the ones most affected by our actions are us. Hate fuels fire and we are currently burning up, figuratively and literally. Race wars, nuclear tensions and record breaking temperatures, to name a few examples (see this NPR article on the recent heatwave that struck the Northwest).
The World Has Loads of Problems: What Is Being Done?
To this day, we rely on an individualistic system to solve our World’s collective problems. For example, each election year we vote for ‘change’ here in America, and each election thereafter we switch sides in the hope that one candidate will fix the mistakes of the former. From joining the Paris Climate Accord during Obama’s presidency, to leaving during Trump’s and rejoining again during Biden’s current administration, we cannot seem to make up our minds! It is a seemingly never ending cycle and the outcome remains the same. The rich are richer. The poor are poorer. The World is in turmoil. The climate is in crisis. So the question remains, is there hope? If so, what can we do to help?
Often times when asked how we on an individual level can make a positive impact, we are met with the same response: “Get out and vote!” Interesting. You mean that by voting for the same, self-interested career politicians, we will see change? I consider myself to be an optimistic person, but when it comes to our government and who has power in America, I like to think that I am a realist. Our government does not see Red, White and Blue. They only see Green: money. If there is no money to be made, we are left to fend for ourselves.
So why is that a bad thing? Being left to fend for ourselves should be a productive concept (check out my latest blog on Entrepreneurship to learn more about my opinion on the matter). Fundamentally speaking, we are capable of achieving great things without the help of our government. Why have we built such a reliance on an ineffective group of people? Why are we not able to solve these issues on our own? To me, the answer is obvious: selfishness.
The World has Loads of Problems: What Can I Do?
Stop focusing on yourself and yourself alone. Stop the nonsensical thinking about your own problems. Stop wanting more. End the pursuit of material possessions. Instead, begin to think in terms of, “how can I work with others to achieve overall greatness?” What do I mean by this? Overall greatness, to me, is a heightened sense of awareness in what is and what will be, and a communal love for the common good. Too often do we become consumed by our own lives, that we neglect our animalistic tendencies to support the common good. We must turn to the very ecosystem that we are endangering, for answers on how to prosper as homo sapiens.
Take the time to view Life at work in Nature and the lessons that it heeds. Watch as Bees systematically move from flower to flower, gathering pollen and nectar with which they return to the hive to add to the colony’s supply. Notice the collaborative effort of Birds as they migrate, communicate and care for their kin. Understand that even trees communicate with each other for survival, via their underground root system. YaleEnvironment360 published an article from an interview with Ecologist, Suzanne Simard, who discovered the process in which trees work together to share water, nutrients and vital information. This is all done “via a network of latticed fungi buried in the soil”. Simard concludes her interview by stating that this symbiotic communication between tree and plant species is vital to the survival of Life on Earth. If collaboration is necessary for the survival of Earth’s forestry, can’t the same be said for the human race?
Homeostasis is the answer to our problems. In the animal kingdom, species live in a relative state of equilibrium. They work together to accomplish goals in supporting the pack. They give back to the Earth the same amount that they take. They conduct population control naturally instead of systematically. That is homeostasis. We humans take MUCH more than we provide, and what we do give back to the Earth is largely toxic. We must change our actions to mimic that of nature, if we are to both survive and thrive as a species.
Stop isolating and start incorporating others in your journey. If you need help, ask. If someone asks for help, do your best to assist. Be open and honest with yourself and everyone else around you. Conduct work in a manner in which you are uplifted. Feed your soul, not your pockets. Reach across the aisle to understand the other side. Love thy neighbor, regardless of racial, sexual, political or ethnic identity. Reduce, reuse and recycle. Care for Mother Nature. Do this and observe the domino effect on the people with whom you interact. Watch as the uplifting of your own soul transcends to those around you. We are supposed to be the most intelligent species on our planet, but for some reason we struggle with these basic concepts. Instead, we buy into governments and corporations who do not buy into us, as well as the hate-filled messages that they spew. For many of us, our work and daily habits take us further away from our true state of being: homeostasis.
I vow to make a difference and break this cycle of toxicity. How about you?
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© 2021 Ian Shepardson