I watched two things on TV a a couple of days ago which tell a striking (no pun intended) story of life here on the planet. The first was an item on CBC News. The second occurred during the Toronto Blue Jays baseball game.
In the ballgame, Toronto was trailing 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Rays in the bottom of the ninth inning. Brett Lawrie was at bat with a 3-1 count (3 balls & 1 strike). There were two out. The next pitch was well outside the strike zone. Lawrie dropped his bat and headed down to first base. Hold on a second. The umpire called ‘strike two.’ Lawrie returned to the batter’s box, clearly upset with the call. The next pitch was even further outside the strike zone. Again, Lawrie dropped his bat and headed to first base.
What! Everybody went ballistic. Especially, Lawrie. He slammed his helmet into the artificial turf and it bounced up and struck the ump (again, no pun intended). Game over. The Jays lost!
A travesty of justice! A tragic end to the ballgame! A fan even threw a beer at the ump (who by the way, was surrounded by the police). Nobody ever said Toronto fans were discrete.
Ball fans all over North America have been talking about this and will be for days to come. TV and radio sports shows have been discussing it at length. Clearly the ump blew the first call and clearly he made the second call personal after Lawrie had shown him up with his premature trot to first base. Yes, an injustice well worth our attention!
Now, let’s get back to the first item. As I said, I caught it on CBC News. Something about a report concluding that the human race is gobbling up resources (water, air, fish, forests, minerals, arable land, etc) at a much faster rate than the planet can replace them. This report estimates that by 2030, we will need two planets in order to sustain our present use of resources. I suspect the conclusions of this study are based on best case scenario and likely underestimate the severity of the situation.
I wonder how much of our attention this story will get, particularly in light of the impending initial public offering of facebook shares, which is estimated to be valued in the billions of dollars … and we could all use a little extra personal wealth at this time, especially rich folks!
The fuss over Brett Lawrie’s unjust strikeout is akin to the passengers complaining about the quality of the wine … after the Titanic crashed into the iceberg…and quite frankly we don’t have time for such trivial matters. We are facing a crisis that threatens the survival of life on the planet … and I’m not being melodramatic … particularly in light of another CBC News report from last fall of a study that found that the world’s oceans are in far worse shape than previously thought … and yet the vast majority are doing nothing about it.
I think, perhaps, the cause of our apparent apathy is threefold. First, we genuinely don’t see the urgency of our predicament. It’s too far out and we’ve got too many other more urgent matters to deal with, like mortgage payments, the kid’s schooling, opening up the cottage and the aforementioned Lawrie strikeout. Second, we have no idea what to do. Third, it’s just far too big for us to deal with it. We’re overwhelmed by it!
This is understandable. After all, how do you halt population growth? How do you stop development? How do you stop big business from polluting? How do you convince corporate CEOs to put the welfare of society ahead of their bonus cheques? How do you stop biotech companies from creating gmo’s? How do you stop terrorists from suicide bombing? How do you put an end to factory farming? How do you convince Japan to stop killing dolphins? How do you convince Indonesia to stop tearing down the forests that orangutans need to live? How do you convince China to stop killing sharks? More importantly, how do you convince China and North Korea and Cuba and so on and so on, to allow their people to live in freedom? In fact, how do you convince democratic governments to behave like democratic governments?
The situation is daunting indeed. Our apathy, however, is going to lead to our extinction! Again, I’m not being melodramatic. As Paul Rodgers (former lead singer of Free and Bad Company) recently said, “My greatest fear is that there are too many people on this planet and we’re drowning in our own garbage.”
We have to take action. Now! We have no time to waste and it is essential that we do so on both an individual and collective basis.
Perhaps the single most important thing each of us can do, is develop a healthy self image. I believe that if we all felt good about ourselves, we simply wouldn’t treat each other and the planet the way we do. We would be less concerned with money, fame and power and more intent on living with love, compassion and acceptance. We would want peace of mind and joyful living that is derived from spiritual pursuits. If everybody felt good about themselves, we could eliminate all suffering on the planet…overnight!
The second thing we can do is change the way we live on a day to day basis. We can do a lot less consuming … I’m talking about material goods and resources … and a lot more enjoying what we have, including what nature has to offer. Here’s a list of things we can do to get started:
- grow our own foods
- eat organic
- eat dandelions (they’re incredibly nutritious and don’t cost a cent)
- learn about the things that grow naturally around us that we can eat
- take fewer trips (use less gas)
- don’t idle our engine for more than 10 seconds
- don’t replace things until we absolutely have to
- minimize the amount of garbage and waste we create
- don’t use pesticides or herbicides on our lawns
- turn off the shower when we’re lathering
- turn off our air conditioners and spend more time outdoors
- adopt a minimalist way of living…we really don’t need all the things we think we need
If you want to get more radical as it relates to taking a stand on things that don’t serve mankind, take up boycotting. It’s a very powerful negotiating tool. Here are some of things I avoid:
- fast food joints…they produce toxic, unhealthy foods and an enormous amount of garbage
- foods that are genetically modified, like corn…they are highly toxic and are contributing to declining bee populations
- medications, especially prescription medications..again, they are highly toxic, mostly unnecessary and are produced by companies whose only concern is profits
I would also love to boycott gas companies…they are raking in billions & billions of dollars selling a product that pollutes…however, that’s not exactly practical, so I use as little gasoline as necessary (it helps to have a bicycle).
These are just a few things, but they’re a start. Most importantly, they get us thinking about taking better care of ourselves and the planet.
Have a strikingly awesome day!