The media during 2009 is mainly focusing on gloomy news about the economy, the failing financial systems and the initiatives the US government and other governments around the world are starting to get back to more prosperous times. While the election of Barrack Obama has brought a lot of hope for change to the world, many people are wondering how these changes are actually going to materialize for them.
Whenever there is a moment in time where we have the opportunity to reorder things, make a fresh start, apply lots of money to a cause, and fundamentally change our approaches, it is important to identify the most important areas. One of these areas is the requirement to change our behavior towards the environment we live in.
The US government plans to use a significant portion of its stimulus funds to create “green jobs” and begin a path away form the dependence from foreign oil. A carbon trading system has been proposed, in which corporation with the need to emit significant amounts of carbon emissions can buy credits from other organizations that actually reduce the carbon footprint compared to an established average. This is supposed to encourage companies and industry in general to look for clean energy sources to support their product and service creation.
These are measures on a large scale that will help the United States to hopefully move from being one of the single largest polluters of this planet to a responsible member of the green revolution we need to avoid a complete collapse of our environment. In a recent article Simon U. Ford asks if it is enough for individuals to donate to environmental causes. He is challenging his readers to contemplate if making a financial contribution to a seemingly good cause is enough to help the environment.
Simon speaks about his good fortune in business, his success, leading to a point in his life where he has the freedom to decide what he wants to do with his wealth. That leads him to state:
“To me, just joining a cause, signing a petition, donating some money doesn’t quite cut it. You see, those are just blind contributions where you cannot see the outcome of your efforts, as such. Somehow, I wish we could collectively do more as a group – rather than doing our little bits individually.”
For many people it is very clear that we need change in this world. To achieve this change we need new leadership that is willing to see the bigger picture and solve the problems of the planet together, rather than gaining power by waging wars. The question becomes: How can we as individuals participate in this revolution?
One way is by providing money to those organizations that have identified one part of the big puzzle that is the Green Revolution. As Simon Ford says, we have to be careful that we don’t just satisfy our guilt by giving some money to worthwhile causes.
What guilt, you ask? The guilt of driving more than we needed to; the guilt of using materials we know to be hard to recycle,; the guilt to spend money on things we really don’t need when we could spend it on things that would help us all live a better life, the guilt of having sinned in one way or another.
Normally when we need to correct a mistake or error, it hurts. Giving money is a relatively painless way of compensation. Regarding the Green Revolution, Thomas Friedman in his most recent book titled “Hot, Flat, and Crowded”, proclaims that a revolution is only a real revolution when it hurts and causes pain. Anybody who likes to learn more about Friedman’s arguments can check out a great lecture he recently gave using this link: http://tinyurl.com/green-revolution
If joining a cause, signing a petition, and donating some money doesn’t quite cut it, what are we really to do? I believe we need to first learn and than educate others to achieve a new level of awareness and behavior.
For a Green Revolution to occur, we need to be the ones who know what it takes in every part of our lives to make a difference. Our daily actions should be guided by the questions: “Does this action hurt or help the earth?” When we decide to donate money, join a cause or get involved, the questions should be: “Does this action hurt or help the earth?” When we vote for a new initiative, the question needs to be “Does this vote hurt or help the earth?”
As always when changing a behavior, the goal is achieved when it becomes second nature; when we don’t need to label things to be “green”, or “organic”, or “natural”, or environmentally friendly” anymore. We will know that we made a difference when we have educated everyone we can touch to a point that any action or involvement not supportive of the earth feels wrong, ill-headed and stupid.
Individuals and groups alone will not be able to do all this work of change by themselves. Those in power who have the money, the ability to change the laws and rules, and support all initiatives that are actually good for the earth need to be willing to do their part.
History has taught us once in recent history that a revolution can occur successfully without one shot being fired. That happened in front of most of our eyes when the Berlin Wall came down and the people of Eastern Germany streamed across the borders to rejoin their brothers and sisters in the West. A people had successfully rejected a system and all its rules, organizations, parties, and systems and elected to change the world. Within a few months the Soviet Union fell and the old fight between the Democracies of the Western World and the Communism of the East ceased to exists.
A revolution by the people is possible when individuals form groups and decide that they demand a better life in a better environment supported by better environmental and economic conditions. Every person counts in such an effort, even if it feels like it’s a proposition of David-vs-Goliath.
In the long run, the right ideas to safe the world will prevail. Those of us who can do more than joining a cause, signing a petition, and donating some money, it will be fulfilling to do what they can to help us all reach the level of awareness we need to create a better world. For everybody else, it is of utmost importance to get involved and be open to change.
The willingness to change is the first step to a successful green Revolution that leads to a world where we all know what we need to do to contribute our part to guarantee clean water, clean air, clean fuels, and a prosperous future for all of us. As we get involved, each in our own way and to the level we can afford, we will become part of a larger movement that can revolutionize the planet.
Donella Meadows once wrote about the situation we find ourselves in when it comes to evading catastrophe: “We have exactly enough time, starting now.” To me that is a clear encouragement to join causes, sign petitions, donate money, and if you can, do all the other great things we need to do to have a peaceful but powerful Green Revolution – Now!