Hope with Less vs. Hopeless
To sustain ourselves each day we may plant seeds of hope. Doing so, offers us the power to refresh ourselves from the mental despair we daily have to endure. There are many threats to our world. There are many ways we can be destroyed. Whether it is widespread avian virus killing billions, or an asteroid destroying us, there are numerous possibilities threatening our demise. Whatever the future brings, we have one profound choice regarding ourselves. Either we can be self destructive, or we can be constructive. We are at a crossroads of fostering either hope or despair. If we are to perish as a species, we can face our demise with either grace or cowardice. Believing that we are here for a limited time can be fundamental to how we can lead a happier life. I believe if we can decide to use less, make less, and be more harmless, then, even when we do exit this earth we can leave as guests who gave this place more love then what was here when we came.
2500 United Nation scientists warn that carbon emissions must end in seven years to avoid killing as many as a quarter of the planet's species as a result global warming. This Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that won the 2007 Nobel Prize along with Al Gore, cites that a 3 to 4 degree increase in temperature on our planet represents a matter of life and death to humans and as well as most other living things. These scientific findings are terrifying. They are real possibilities pointing to vast and significant devastation of a wide variety of communities on Earth. Now the question is, can we humans rework our industrial, agricultural, transportation and human processes to cool things down?
We are now in our second planetary climate change era. We know the earth is unstable, and we may experience again what happened 55 million years ago when the planet had its first climatic crisis. Our planet has experienced mass extinction before and it is happening again. We are now realizing that we have met the enemy, and it is us. We need to make concerted global actions, and change the way we as individuals live. The most powerful thing each of us can do is to change our lifestyle and become more graceful.
There is no question that our planet is warming, and as our population explodes, so will our problems. If we can learn to do more with less,we will begin to adapt. Less is the mantra. Less stuff, less worries, less hurry. We are just at the tip of a melting iceberg impacting human souls for a long time. Billions of us are attempting to survive on a few dollars a day. Over a billion people do not have potable water. Yes our past history has been filled with tremendous adversity and unstable weather patterns and events.
Technological solutions will only work if they are complemented by human action in slowing down carbon emissions. We lose the war on waste when we grow out of control. We have to grow up and learn that we can only win the battle by conserving.
What is involved is a shift in perspective that some people find very difficult to do. You can argue that our exploding human population might be considered a positive thing, that with more minds we have a greater possibility of solving our problems. But this is a fallacious argument. A mind set of fighting fire with fire is only rarely successful. It usually just produces more flames. We need to understand there are no simple solutions. More with less is about addressing the issues of population planning. Promoting worldwide birth control addresses a fundamental question, "when is enough too much?"
Creating hope with less is about focusing into the cause of our problems. Developing a solution is complex and difficult because we have to change our culture and our personal habits in many different ways.
Why are these solutions so difficult and complex? First our culture is based on more, not less. Also, we have created an almost invisible addiction to consumption. The way we live is has become ingrained in our brains. We have become habitual in the way we consume. Changing ourselves will inevitably cause us to feel uneasy and uncomfortable. Resistance will be formidable.
Cultural change is something that does not occur easily. Why? Altering personal beliefs and behaviors just does not happen overnight. We are hard wired animals, and to adopt new behaviors requires practice that does not quickly happen. So to change our way of living in accordance with new understandings requires many alterations to be inplace and aligned. Deep change is what is required before such a shift can happen. Individuals with radical ideas are the instruments that revolutionize civilizations.
What is also frightening is the reality that most people tend to rely on others to do what is needed doing in crisis. Relying on the government, elected officials, corporations, and the rich to rescue us, is a perspective beginning to be questioned. And there is a prevailing na´ve view that anything man made can also be easily undone. Just as believing that technology will solve our problems so too is this perspective that our salvation will come from our leaders, without much individual struggle and effort on our part a na´ve idea.
Some Christian's view the "rapture" as a prospect for saving the "good people," thus removing our troubles is also a notion that must be questioned as perhaps a too simple and easy response. Also, the New Age movement suffers a similar fallacy, believing that some Future Being will show up and give us the answer. One thing is if for sure, if we do not each attempt to save ourselves by using less no one else will.
Hope Comes from Asking the Right Questions and Becoming a Change Agent
The challenge for changing our culture comes most exacerbated by the American Dream mentality, the "American Way of Life." Strong societal pressure defines a way of life. Our democracy has become a"deadocracy" because "we" the people have become "they" the people. Freedom is lacking because Americans have fallen asleep to the concept of responsibility.
We must begin to live with less in order to practice a more sustainable way of life. This is not an especially new idea. People have been doing it since ancient times. Such earth-based wisdom is what we need to return to. And we are better equipped today in understanding how we are all interconnected, a part of a greater web of life in which all things as sacred.
Can we awaken to ways that are nurturing and healing, rather than controlling and punishing? Are not humans and the natural systems inter-penetrated and interdependent, and not separate? Can we develop a synergistic lifestyle combining cultural, religious, and economic systems into a sustaining of abundance in our natural environment?Failing to protect this world for future generations and all of life,we will go insane, falling into a state of permanent hopelessness that will destroy us as if we were infected by a psychological virus. But if we can grow the new thinking to the point of a critical mass of people filled with hope and determination, we can achieve the new way of viewing the world, and thereby maintain a future for human populations well into the future.
Hope is powerful idea. Without our new world-view, everything deteriorates. Each one of us acting in concert can alter our culture. Our governments or our corporations cannot accomplish this. A grass roots prescription is our only real hope. Less is more. Ingenuity and creativity are seeds for our future. We have to get out of this book of "status quo" and experiment with many solutions in innovative ways beyond what we know.
We must shift from a culture of "information" to one of "wisdom." The wisdom we apply to the issues of practice and sustainability will come about when we act out of the inspired idea of the sacredness of all things.
We have a choice. We can give up, and believe our situation is hopeless, or we can exercise hope and practice living with less. No matter the outcome the only thing that matters is what each one of us does with our life. We have the ability to create our own heaven or hell depending on how we relate to all things. We use them either in a sacrilegious or sacred way.
Copyright Rob Arner - All Rights Reserved.
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