I am forever torn between all of the things I am interested in, want to discuss, be a part of and solve. I am perpetually thinking about the plight of the poor, the treatment of women and girls, the state of the ecology of earth, climate change, illiteracy and general lack of education here and abroad.
This is not a focus on the negative. This is more of a 'needs assessment' if you will. See what is there, see what needs changing and needs help instead of looking away. These are the big problems, to be sure. Clean fresh water for everyone on the planet, the ability to read in one's own language and the societal and cultural shifts to get an education to the women and girls of every country and also eradicating hunger and long term poverty (and its effects) are enormous goals, larger than any one person. Larger sometimes than even thoughts to wrap around them.
Today, however, as I walked from my car to the building I have been working in for almost two years, I had a thought I have not had before. I wasn't even particularly thinking about all the world's problems and what can and needs to be done, but this thought was not a big bang either. It was spawned by listening to a news radio program about a study on the effects of warming and CO2 on the coral reefs and their inhabitant plant and animal species and what you could determine from that. They show this to students in hopes of giving them some perspective of the effects of our choices, the decisions we make and that we vote for.
I left the car and started walking in like I do on any other day...with my coffee, my packed lunch, my purse.... and I almost stopped in the middle of the road. What if.....
What if I have been thinking of all these things the hard way all along? What if I and everyone I have talked to thus far has it wrong? Could it be possible to work on all of these at once instead of separately? We tend to say- wow, this is a lot of huge problems with deep roots of political, economic, religious history and we cannot fix this. Or we cannot fix it now. Or we cannot fix it alone. It will cost too much, be too hard, we need to separate these and work on them one at a time. Someone else is doing this. They are working on it. I had that same thought right before this one. It is a defense mechanism. Your brain says, 'Hey, why am I not doing anything about these things?" and then you have your built up plausible excuses ready right then.
The worst thing is when we dehumanize these issues, we decide that poor people deserve what is happening due to the fact that they are not smart enough or working hard enough to fix their own problems. That the women are putting up with terrible men. If they would just not do that, it would be different. Then we turn our attention back to our life with its trappings of wealth and feel secure that we are good and that is why we have what we have.
This is a fallacy. We are sitting on the top of a pyramid and under us are the layers of imperialism, slavery, racism, industrial revolution, pollution, greed and manic corruption that holds us so close to the sun. Many women gave their lives so that I could have the education I have, the freedoms and rights I have, the ability to even write this right now. Change must take place and progress happens whether we want it to or not. We need change. To determine how to get everyone what they need while furthering their economic and educational lives, thereby changing the cycle and slowing the ruination of the natural world.....
But...what if....? What if in our need to educate people, is a way to not just tell them what to do? What if we found a way to help people get the clean water they need, the food they need at the SAME TIME as we teach them to grow it and develop a system to keep growing it...and using organic and non invasive species, alternative energies and conservation methods? What if the women and girls had the same holding in this and were not secondary learners to the systems? What if?
I know this sounds crazy and like Greenpeace, the Peace Corps and your hippie uncle all got together and came up with this idea while high on peyote...but hear it out. Let it roll around in your brain and marinade for a while like all ideas must do. Sure it may be impossible, but seeing as how we don't know what we are capable of until we are tested, we need to do more than dismiss it and make excuses. The best ideas seemed crazy at the time. Cars, airplanes, going to outer space? Probably sounded nuts at the time. You take those things for granted now. What if we used our abilities to fix the worst problems the world faces, the people affected and saved the planet for everyone?
Crazy? Sure. But we have to do it.