Sunday, September 19, 2010

Clarity in the fog

Change is a buzz word nowadays, and as with every buzz word I can think of, it has lost its meaning, its grip on reality and real circumstances. To a certain extent, I have become cynical about the word and wonder if it really can galvanize our hearts and our global society in the way it needs to right now. How can we, both individually and collectively, overcome the monumental challenges facing us without changing? A good friend of mine has written a three part blog series on change which I think defines the word in such a way as to get rid of all the superfluous messages which surround it today. I would recommend you take a few minutes and read them here, Growing in Change, by Michael Hidalgo.

What monumental challenges are we facing you might ask? Aside from having a 'bad economy', I'm referring to a shrinking world, comprised of an increasing population, increasing demands on the rapidly diminishing natural resources which sustain all life, and a general feeling of polarization and noncooperation which is drowning our political and social landscape. We have avoided these problems for too long and now we're entering the tipping point, after which we won't have the luxury of time we've had; we'll have to settle very quickly for the second (or third or fourth) option.

It is interesting to me that these challenges are not on the minds and mouths of the mass media, or our elected leaders, or of the people I hear talking around me at the coffee shop. Our lifestyles have become amazing insulators; our society, an intricate fog which helps us to constantly only focus on what is right in front of us. Yet the knowledge is there. The resources which can lift the fog are within our grasp unlike ever before in history. We now know that human population growth is growing exponentially and cannot continue at its current rate. We know that our consumption of resources is both selfish and shortsighted; an act which is stealing years from the future of our species. 

Yet our knowledge and the resources which grow from it doesn't stop there. We also know how to fix these issues and problems. We know what needs to be done, yet also see with startling clarity how difficult and all-encompassing this change will need to be, and as such, embrace the fog once again. 

However I believe there is hope. There have been countless times in history where societies come together to face and overcome seemingly impossible barriers. These times have been characterized by leaders who were willing to look beyond their own party's stance and their own re-election and risk everything in order to catalyze and unify individuals under a common goal. 

For us, this goal is life. This goal is re-prioritizing what is important. 

Remembering that instead of the latest and greatest gadget, perhaps an experience with a loved one is more important; 

Instead of taking what is 'rightfully' ours, giving generously to those who cannot enforce their rights; 

Instead of staring glazingly at the fog, searching tirelessly for a higher way and letting that way lead us to action on behalf of others and the Earth.