Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day - What Kind of World Do You Want?

What kind of world do you want? 

The first time I asked myself this question was after seeing the above window display somewhere near the Hermitage Museum in Amsterdam during my travels last year. My reaction to the question was surprise that it had taken over fifty years of life for me to ask it. 

Truth be told, I'd gotten distracted by the other question most of us get asked early on: "Who do you want to be when you grow up?" and had been struggling to manifest that answer ever since, subconsciously assuming trying to manifest an answer to the second question was the best way to answer the first.

I also probably assumed that other people and/or a greater power, more qualified than I, were working on answering the first question. These days I'm not so sure. I see the continued problems of homelessness, poverty, racism, sexism and classism in even the most affluent countries. I see wars that teach communication in the language of violence, bringing death and destruction while creating large refugee populations. I see thoughtless extraction of the planet's resources. In short, I see a lot of waste.

I want to go back to the first question. The first question allows for more flexibility and creativity in providing an answer at the individual level and shifts the focus away from identity to a broader perspective that includes everything around us. 

The first question is especially appropriate for Earth Day, because in the words of Ajahn Brahm, "No one is driving the bus." The problem is that it not only qualifies as Buddhist humor, it's an accurate description of our collective reality. The bus we're all on has been hurdling along a destructive path at increasing rapid speeds since the industrial and technological eras began. In this age of connected globalization it's past time we decided on a goal/destination. The way I see it, once we have a destination in mind, we can work on a plan. 

What kind of world do you want? I've been listening for most of my life and, based on that listening, here is my answer:

Because we are the stewards of ourselves as well as the Earth – the only planet we have – I want a world in which every man, woman, and child has:

A safe place to sleep at night,
Adequate food, water, and sanitation,
Day care for children,
Health care, 'mind' care, and spiritual care.

Based on past history, only a plan that conveys mutual respect and responsibility for all beings and our planet has a chance of working.

A goal that doesn't take care of everyone and the planet isn't big enough.  If we decide on a goal that doesn't include all beings we collectively, as well as individually, continue to operate from a mindset of scarcity, and the trap that the economy and capitalism represent, rather than abundance.  

Now that I've decided on this as a goal I can wish you all a Happy Earth Day. 

Until we have an agreed-on plan, please consider making a donation to either our children refugees in Syria and/or our children in the US at one of these sites:



NO KID HUNGRY:;jsessionid=020AF936E2C2270FF784B557E5EE2EA7.app250b?df_id=12320&12320.donation=form1&autologin=true&s_src=Email&s_subsrc=SB7_041415__15ED012A

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