Monday, December 12, 2016

Monday Mantra: The Earth Manifesto

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: The earth cares not what you think; it cares only what you do

Right now, my brain is wrapped around the idea of loss. Of incomprehensible loss in multiple ways.
  • Civilizations who rely on the earth as a provider; damaged and hurting and in need of water, of grass, of change.
  • Coastal communities who have seen significant declines in fish populations, significant increases in sunny day floods, and devastation brought on by unbelievable storms.
  • These facts: Half of the world's coral reefs died this year. Refugee situations are being caused by lack of food, water, and acceptable living conditions. Thousands of people dying because of extreme heat never before seen.
Right now I'm focused on a little something called climate change (or global warming). The discussion about climate change is so much more than just about the climate. It's about our culture, our outlook on life. What we consume, what we replenish, what we overlook because we have so much going on in our lives.

I've been doing my homework.

It's terrifying.

We are the most dangerous species on earth. We demand and consume more than our planet can sustain. When the day comes when the planet can no longer handle our demands, it will no longer be able to handle us. It will no longer be able to support or provide for us. Apparently, we're almost there.

I'm trying to understand why people don't believe. Why they think it's a hoax, a lie, a conspiracy. Why it's not enough proof to know that 99% of scientists agree we are in major trouble and that these 99% of scientists are losing sleep every night because yes, that is how bad it really is right now. 

Years ago, when I was deep in the world of health and wellness, I would tell my friends and family about all the things I was learning. I cannot tell you how much skepticism I was met with. To me, it was all logical, plain and simple. Here are the facts. Look at the data. Everything was painfully obvious. But to them, it wasn't. Almost ten years later and many of those friends and family members now believe and reiterate what I once told them. The funny part is they don't even remember our old conversations. They bring up the data as if it's brand new, which it is- to their acceptance of it.

My point is that most people have to come to terms with things in their own time. Often, they come to terms with health and wellness because of illness. We humans tend to only look for a different side when it's either too late or when we are personally affected. We don't have the luxury of waiting until it's too late with the planet. We have now, and if we don't act now we won't have a later.

I realize that part of the problem is that it's not necessarily overwhelmingly obvious in modern civilizations. It is explicitly obvious in developing countries. What we do here - in New York, in Los Angeles, in Phoenix - affects people living in the Philippines, in Africa, in India. Our lives have not been significantly impacted, so for some of us it's hard to believe. But countless other lives in these, plus many other countries, have been. I, as a citizen of humanity, struggle immensely knowing that things are far worse than far too many people are willing to acknowledge.

The thing is, though, there are signs here in the United States. There are signs all around us if we're willing to open our eyes. In my backyard, and on walks with my dogs, I find the bodies of dead bees everywhere. The dust storms have increased in recent years and the monsoons have decreased. It is hot hot HOT in Phoenix. Our desert plants that normally thrive in the heat are dying.

Miami suffers from what they call Sunny Day Flooding. On the warmest, sunniest, completely rain-free days they have immense amounts of sea water flooding their streets. If we, collectively, as the citizens of planet Earth don't do something, Miami will one day (not that many years from now) no longer exist. None of our current coastal communities will. They'll be underwater.

If things don't change, we will see increased refugee surges all over the world. I want you to pause for a second and imagine that. Picture the place you're living right now. Add two million people. Add four million people. What will that do to jobs and housing and supply and demand? Think about it.
  • There are places - today, right now - where people can no longer live because of the lack of water. Because nothing and no one, not even plants, can survive. Right now. Right now.
  • In some of these same places, crime has increased. There is a direct and proven correlation between impacted climates and increased crime for the simple reason of trying to survive. 
  • Animal species are dying at rapid rates. If things don't change, it's predicted that elephants will be extinct in another fifteen years.
Non-believers will be shaking their heads right about now, scoffing. Thinking they know more than the experts. Patting themselves on the back because they saw an ad on TV (paid for by the oil companies) telling them that climate change is a hoax, a way to raise taxes. 

Here's the thing, though:

The earth doesn't care what you think.

Your opinion won't change the facts.

The thing that disturbs me the most is the people who are so unwilling to listen, to learn, to actually open their minds to any and all new thoughts. They are so set in their ways they won't even try.

That is pure laziness.

The real harm lies with them. Because at the end of the day this all boils down to two things: either you believe in climate change and you support whatever needs to be done to stop it, or you don't. For those of us that believe, nothing new that comes is going to surprise us. We expect things to keep getting worse. But for those who don't believe, if major changes don't start happening right now, those people will one day have no choice but to believe. And at that point, they will have wasted precious time doing nothing. And it will be too late.

The question we should all be asking ourselves right now is: Which side do I want to be on?

Once upon a time I heard a saying: "The earth doesn't need us, but we need it."

I hope everyone realizes how true that is. Us climate-change-believers aren't just trying to save the earth. We're trying to save the human species. We cannot continue to purge the earth of it's resources and continue blindly thinking everything available to us is endless, limitless, never ending and without consequences. We can't continue living the way we have thinking it's sustainable. There are limits in absolutely everything in life. That includes what we take from and put into this earth.

In the business world, you have your ups and downs. You have quarters where you are excelling in every possible way and quarters where you fail. If you're lucky, you have years of great work with only blips of decline here and there. Consider the planet in these same terms. It's unreasonable to think that the earth can continue performing at its peak day-in and day-out without ever faltering. That is an impossible task. Taking that into consideration, it's inevitable that terrible things will happen. Terrible things have already happened. Vert simply put, the earth is not exempt from failure, just as nothing in life is. We must come to terms with this, we must understand this, we must take it upon ourselves to be responsible for taking better care of it so that we don't fail to our own detriment.

Let's face some facts here: Livelihoods will be affected by fossil fuel companies going away. It's true. Anyone who works for an oil company will likely lose their job. I'm not saying this lightly or with disrespect. That is a scary concept for anyone. However, you have to remember that new jobs will be created. Plenty of new jobs will exist in support of sustainable resources.

Let's face some more facts, shall we?

Other people's livelihoods have already been affected by climate change. In far worse ways than losing a job. People who have no other means of survival, people who live off of the land. No one, not one single human on this earth, should be willing to hurt another person so they can lead a life in excess. It is a selfish person who refuses to make the necessary and needed changes so that someone else, somewhere possibly miles and miles away, may have what they need to survive.

I too am facing this thought of selfishness. What does all of this mean for me? There are questions I have to ask myself constantly.

We should all be asking these questions of ourselves because we all need this planet.

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