“Change!” It’s incredibly cliché and overused. When people say the word, it creates more questions than answers. From campaign slogans to kitty litter box instructions, that simple word creates an array of mental images. But, I’m going to say it anyway – We have to change.
The traditional concept of the “American Way” as established in the 20th century (bigger, faster, fatter, cheaper, etc.) is clearly and undeniably unsustainable. I realize that telling people they need to change the way they see reality isn’t exactly a winning campaign strategy for an aspiring politician, but it has to start at some point.
The world’s oil supply has been on the decline for decades and climate change has been accelerating, wreaking havoc in the form of crazier weather and more intense storms. The Earth itself is at a tipping point and yet most of the world’s leaders are more concerned with drilling for more of a dwindling resource (it’s called “fossil” fuels for a reason) than investing in and improving renewable, sustainable sources of energy.
America is the richest nation on the planet and leads the world in natural resource consumption…and we only account for five percent of the global population. We produce incredible amounts of waste and pollution, which is to be expected from a developed society like ours. However, the fact that other nations around the world are striving to become like us should be a motivation for us to set an example.
Faster, sleeker, sexier cars are fun…but do they really improve one’s life? Buying everything in bulk may be economical, but it isn’t always the best option. Cheaper, hormone-filled foods treated with large amounts of chemicals may be convenient and delicious, but they have disastrous health implications for the body and the planet.
Higher profits and expansion are key to any successful business, but it shouldn’t be the goal of life. Capitalism creates superior products and innovations, but it can also create massive amounts of poverty, pollution and waste. In short, it is not the cure-all for every ailment.
I have nothing against technological innovation or progress; I’ve always been a geek, fascinated with new technologies and the promise of a better tomorrow as depicted in pop culture hits like Star Trek. I am incredibly thankful that I live in a prosperous country like the United States. I love my country and am optimistic about her future…even if her priorities are frequently out of whack.
Things like improving the efficiency of solar power technology and increasing incentives for green technology and renewable energy sources should be some of our top priorities as a species. Governments need to pledge to follow international treaties that treat climate change for what it is: a global crisis that affects everyone.
I know this kind of “rant” may simply be seen as a stupid, tree-hugging, hippie, pink0-commie plea for change, or something…and I don’t care. Shrug away. Laugh it off. Call me young and naive. Continue living in ignorance. I care about the future of this planet. I’m not trying to boost my own ego…to the contrary – Long after I’m gone, I want humanity to be thriving and continually improving. I can’t, in good conscience, focus solely on my own life and ambitions and ignore the consequences of contemporary policies.
Simply closing one’s eyes doesn’t make the rest of the world temporarily disappear. Get real and do something. Live your life with the knowledge that your decisions have consequences. Vote for candidates who are committed to humanity’s betterment and survival. Stay up to date on scientific advances and updates. Realize that while you may live in a sovereign nation, you share a planet with billions of other people and millions of other species. Change. 😉