With the World Racing to a Cliff, Where’s the Responsible Adult?

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The August Complex fire has already burned more land than all of the recorded fires in California between 1932 and 1999, combined! It’s still burning. Since the turn of the century, there have been more than 7,000 major natural disasters affecting 4 billion people. In the twenty years prior to the turn of the century, there were only half that many disasters. Clearly, planet Earth is accelerating toward a cliff, and no one’s attempting to be the responsible adult.

We needn’t look for anyone to tell us what to do; we must simply remember that we are all parts of one system. Each one of us who acts in contrast to the well-being of the system hurts everyone else, and ultimately oneself.

Initially, the coronavirus slowed us down, but now it, too, has become a global cataclysm in its own right. Worse yet, since we already know the trend, we know things will not get any better down the line. Is there nothing we can do?

Actually, there is a lot we can do. The world is the way it is because everyone thinks only about him or herself. If every cell in our body thought only about itself, we would die in seconds. This is what we’re doing to our planet, our home. We’re killing it.

We also can’t expect anything from our leaders, since our leaders reflect our society. In a selfish society, the most selfish people reach the top. In a kind society, the kindest are on top. So if we want to have a different world, we have to change ourselves, and help each other in the process.

We needn’t look for anyone to tell us what to do; we must simply remember that we are all parts of one system. Each one of us who acts in contrast to the well-being of the system hurts everyone else, and ultimately oneself.

It doesn’t take any major transformations to change the world; it simply takes awareness. We all need to eat, go places, work, and live our lives. But we don’t need to define our success by our superiority over others. We also don’t have to compete; we can choose to cooperate instead. We are free people; we can decide what kind of people we want to be, and what kind of society we want to build.

If we choose solidarity over alienation, we will get rid of the virus in no time. Better yet, we will get rid of all the troubles plaguing the world from East to West and from North to South. Everything we do that’s harming the world is a result of our drive to be superior to others. If we took only what we needed to make a good life for ourselves, there would be abundance for everyone and we would not be depleting and polluting the earth. Consumption and rejuvenation would be in balance and we would lead a safe and pleasant life.

But all those great things will not happen unless we become our own responsible adults. We are living in a time when everyone is responsible for everyone else. Accountability differentiates a grownup from a child. We have grown up, and we must act the part.

We needn’t go too far; we can begin with our family and friends, the closest circles to us. The trend of caring will catch up. Everyone needs it; it’s the most required commodity today. And best of all, we needn’t worry about spending it because it restocks itself. The more you give of it, the more you get back from everyone else.

I’m not talking about polite smiles or courtesy. I’m talking about being responsible, accountable for one another. I’m talking about knowing that if we don’t act responsibly, we will simply kill many of our fellow human beings, and possibly ourselves. There are as many ways to act responsibly as there are people. Each of us needs something else, but if we think of ourselves as a community rather than as isolated individuals, we will all be better off. This, in fact, is all we need in order to save ourselves, our planet, and the future of our children.

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