30 January 2006

Toward Solutions

Though most people are vaguely aware of the numerous ills that plague the global landscape – poverty, social unrest, disease, metal illness, ecological devastation, climate change – they often complain:

“I’m so tired of hearing about all of the problems. What can I do about them?”

I believe we cannot fully comprehend the severity and enormity of what troubles us without opening up our eyes and minds to grasp the full extent of our predicament. Each and every problem is wholly connected to the other, and to solve them, we need individual and collective systemic change, in behavior and paradigm. I also do not think people will be willing to sacrifice their superficial contentment and comfort without the full knowledge of why it so critical to do so. This blog is devoted to elucidating global truths about our lives and the life of the earth, however painful and negative those truths may seem to be. Writing about them will take volumes and fully comprehending them will take years of reading, learning, understanding, critical thinking, soul searching and surrender.

In any case, for those who want to cut to the chase, here’s a list of things each one of us can personally do to help ourselves, our health, those less powerful or economically wealthy, and the earth:

  • Reduce consumption, thereby reducing waste. When you must buy:
    Buy products that are necessary and useful, and eliminate those that are of no value.

    Buy as many of your products as possible from local producers/manufacturers. If you must buy imports, make sure they are fair trade.

    Do not patronize large corporations. That includes buying products from them, or listening to/reading their biased/polarized media.

    Buy only organic food as directly from the farm as possible.

  • Save energy whenever and wherever you can. This might include canceling long trips by air, using your car far less, using more energy efficient lighting or none at all, eliminating superfluous gadgets and turning off the TV.

  • Do not eat any processed foods. Check your labels. If there are ingredients that don’t look or sound like food, don’t ingest them.

  • Do not buy or use products made with synthetic chemicals.

  • Eat as close to a vegetarian diet as you possibly can and exercise regularly, if that only means taking a walk a few times a week. This will help ….

  • Prevent illness and eliminate your reliance on pharmaceuticals. Talk to your physician and learn about your own illness. You may not need medicine to help yourself heal. In most cases, your body is constructed to do that on its own.

  • Eliminate your ties to jobs that destroy people or the environment.

  • Get to know the other lives that share your community, not simply the human ones.

  • Read.

  • Remember, when all is said and done, you cannot eat or drink money.

This is only a partial list of first steps in helping to heal our lives and our planet. It is not easy to follow them all the time, but the more of us that do, the more society and businesses around us will change to reflect our wishes to have healthier and happier lives. And to protect the lives of the future.

To read more about why these changes are imperative, you may want to reference any one of the following:
Diet for a Dead Planet, Christopher D. Cook

Not on the Label, Felicity Lawrence

Globalization: Take it Personally, Anita Roddick

The Ecology of Commerce, Paul Hawken

The Corporation, Joel Bakan

How We Can Save the Planet, Mayer Hillman

The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, Thom Hartman

Confessions of an Economic Hitman, John Perkins

Monocultures of the Mind, Vandana Shiva

Welcome to the Machine, Derrick Jensen

Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser

Hegemony or Survival, Noam Chomsky

The People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn

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