Our world is in crisis. Earth is in crisis. Our people are in crisis.
We are all interconnected. With one another. With the Earth and our natural environments, both near and far. Don’t believe me? Do a little research and start enlightening yourself.
There are such an array of topics that scream crisis. Environmentally and socially. Politically and economically. Life is much more fragile than we care to admit sometimes and so many systems we depend on are in danger.
Let’s talk about Yellowstone National Park. Back in 1995 a pack of wolves were reintroduced to the park, after being driven out from their habitat 100 years earlier due to hunting. They were driven out on purpose. What can one animal do to an environment? Their presence affected the landscape and upset the natural balance of the ecosystem.– from berries and bushes to bears and elk. You can read more about it and watch a video here on National Geographic. This is an excellent video to watch with your students or children and discuss our natural environment and how the human species impacts the environment, both consciously and subconsciously.
Now, there are way more Humans living on this Earth than there are wolves. Think about the impact that we are having on our environment in this very moment. Do you turn the water off while brushing your teeth? Is the TV on with no one watching it? Do you create compost from your garbage? Are you a recycler? Do you walk to nearby places instead of hopping in the car? What types of liquids do you pour down your drain? Do you throw garbage out of the window of your car?
The point is not to make you feel any sort of way. I am not judging you, and you should not judge yourself. Just bring an awareness to how you currently live.
These are just some environmental crises that surround us. Everyday as we go about our busy lives and our environment is affected by Humans all over the globe. But we have more than just environmental issues to combat. We also have social issues too.
Where does our garbage go once it gets hauled down the street by the big truck? Think about how many people on this Earth that don’t have a big truck that comes to haul away garbage. In the book “Malala’s Magic Pencil” we see a children’s version of Malala Yousafzai’s novel “I am Malala.” I read it every year to my students. It depicts young children searching through the local garbage dump down the road looking for scraps that their family can sell for money. Global awareness. We are not all living the same lives.
Privilege. We are not all living the same lives. A privilege is a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group. We may be born with certain privileges based on where we are born or currently reside, based on skin color, based on social class, gender, sexual orientation, systemically, etc. If you’re curious to read more about this you can do so here. Educate yourself. What is going on in this world?!
But that’s not all. Let’s talk about the human trafficking that still goes on under our noses in 2020. That is a real thing. Our children are involved, too. I say “our” children, because children are our future. Yours, mine, and everyone else that is currently residing and will reside on Earth into the future. In fact, children account for more than 27% of human trafficking victims. That is one child too many. You can read more about this here.
I did a Google search of global issues. “A global issue is any issue (problem, risk) that adversely affects the global community and environment, possibly in a catastrophic way, including environmental issues, political crisis, social issues and economic crisis.” This list has issues that were organized by the UN back in 2015 and 2016, and all of them are still screaming for attention today in their own way. There are 29 “top-level issues” that then have several subcategories. Our Earth and our People are in turmoil.
Why do we not hear more of these issues on the news? There is so much going on all around us, yet the media plays the same stories over and over and over again. Where is the diversity on the issues? Where are the facts? I once had a professor in college that told the class you could turn the TV off for five years, ten years.. however long of a period, and when you turn it back on it will be spouting out more of the same. The media is defined as the main means of mass communication. Why are they not communicating more of a variety of issues? And all the issues? And without distorting words and twisting headlines so as not to mislead people watching! I have watched and heard the media twisting words and headlines with my very own eyes and ears! In my opinion, the media has an obligation to the public– however, when you bring money into the equation, all goes out the window. They say cash is king.
All of this needs to stop. But how do we begin? Where do we start? You might be mad or angry when you think about all of these issues. You might feel hopeless. You might feel enraged. And that is okay. The first way we will combat all of this is by recognizing that your feelings are valid. Feel them, explore them. Journaling is a wonderful tool for exploring your thoughts.
Next, educate yourself. There is so much to learn. However, the next step you can take is to educate yourself. The more you know, the more you can help to educate others around you. But do so in a constructive manner. Please, please do not yell, shout, name-call or shame anyone who might not be on your same level. We all learn things in our own time and our own way. If you are calm and reasonable and can present facts when you discuss topics you are passionate about, people are more likely to listen to you. And just remember, that people are listening even when you don’t think that they are!
As you continue to educate yourself and grow, you may want to show your passion in other ways. Maybe you want to write and educate others. Perhaps you want to join a group so you can discus topics with other individuals who are just as passionate as you are! Volunteer? Get out there in a way that will be meaningful to you. If you think donating to an organization is the way to go, please be sure you donate to an organization that does not have political affiliations. Do your research before you hand anyone your money.
I believe with all of my heart that we can still save our Earth and each other. We can do this through education, as I have said. Learning and growing. Adjusting our ideas and values as we deepen our understanding of people and the world around us, and most importantly within us. We need to get to the root of the problem first. H.U.M.A.N.S. I believe we need to teach our children to treat one another with kindness. We as adults need to treat one another with kindness. We cannot combat hatred and ugliness with more of the same. The old adage goes something like you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. It starts from within. Do the shadow work so that you can get yourself there. Slowly and without judgement. Let yourself be guided by light and love. Know that sometimes peoples reactions are based off of their own fears, judgements, and shadows that they are currently dealing with. And that is okay.
So now I ask you, what will your next move be? Mindfulness is an excellent place to begin.