Take the realities of climate change and a growing-out-of-control global population and stir well. Throw into the pot the more major problems that those two over-arching factors in turn create – not enough food, not enough water, using up never-to-be-replaced resources, plant and animal extinctions.
If you consider, even briefly, the very negative consequences of that recipe … then thinking life on Earth is going wrong is not only understandable, it’s a sensible conclusion.
With that as the conclusion, naturally anyone would want to make the prospects for the future more positive.
So what has to happen to make a positive future more likely?
Stage One: identify the fundamental problems facing the Earth. Climate change, population growth and all that is happening as a result.
Stage Two: identify the major factors about human life and human behaviour that have created those problems. The causes.
Stage Three: replace those factors – the causes of the problems – with new, different, positive forces.
Stage Four: these positive forces can and will then create the fixes for the problems.
In short: know the problems. Know the causes. Replace the causes with new, positive forces. The positive forces then fix the problems. It sounds so simple!
To make that four stage plan happen will need a huge amount of energy and commitment.
And everything else aside, dealing with the day-to-day gets in the way of that happening.
Dealing with the day-to-day means dealing with food and water, shelter and safety, health, the people around you, friends and loved-ones. All the trials and all the pains, and all the happinesses and pleasures too. All that it all entails. All the core aspects as well as all the niceties.
It can all feel tedious sometimes. It can all feel overwhelming – even the nice stuff.
But while day-to-day life might get in the way, it’s the very same day-to-day stuff that is under threat. All of it. Everything.
And everything means Everything. Every aspect of your life, wherever you live, whatever your life style, is at risk.
What that means is that, however hard looking up from the day-to-day might be, at root you’ve a simple choice. You can try to do your utmost to create a better, positive future. Or you can give up.
Whether you like it or not, those are your only real options. You have to make that choice. But you have to be honest.
Make it easy on yourself. Leave everyone else aside and think just of one person you love. Now think of looking them in the eye. Now imagine telling them that you don’t love them that much. That you don’t love them enough to do much to safeguard their well being, their future.
Are you willing to say that to someone you love?
And to then say the same thing to everyone? And it is Everyone, because we’re all in this together. There is only one Earth that we’re all living on.
That’s what it comes down to.
Do you want to work – however hard the work is – for a better future?
Or do you want everyone you ever meet in future to be able to look at you and know you don’t care much about them?
It’s action that counts. Words are cheap and lip service is just that.
And yes, taking action is tough. But giving up and doing nothing will be tougher.
I am perpetually disappointed by people criticising, especially when they’re having a go at politicians, leaders. Criticism is easy and talk is often just noise. I’m too often guilty of being a vacuous critic too.
I’ve a mind full of thoughts about of how we’ve ended up with the world in the appalling mess it’s in, but they’re just thoughts. They’re pointless unless I act on them.
And so I tried to think about what’s needed to address the problems the world is facing – the actual actions required.
And I started to write.
And I ended up writing the above.*
Fundamentally, all I’ve done is boil things down to the very, very basic context we’re all in. It will be complicated and messy to be clear about the problems and the causes, to identify the new positive forces we collectively need if we are to move forward, and to then start to apply some fixes.
But crucially, I’ve also identified the question we all have to ask of ourselves before anything else. Do you want to work for a better future – or not. Because without a large scale buy-in, the future is bleak. And a bleak future will be ugly, and divisive. Dogs will eat dogs when there’s not enough food to go around.
So, it’s a start and it feels clear. But that’s all it is. And if you, me and enough other people all do want to work for a better future, what happens next?
* Someone else said that they write to find out what they have thought. I can only agree.
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