This holiday season I invite you to give the greatest gift you’ve ever given, and best of all—it’s not going to cost you a thing. It’s part of an idea that we all can embrace, an idea worth sharing: the idea that sustainability has no enemies. With no enemies, the great gift that you can give humanity this holiday season is to partake in a massive coming together.
We are a race in crisis, and it’s not just economic. The climate crisis is historic, and while it presents many life-threatening issues, its solutions pose to unite all of humanity. For the first time in human history, we are approaching a moment when we must set our differences aside, and come together as a united planet if we are going to survive. For the first time, we are aware of everyone else on this planet, and can calculate the global impact of each person’s life. For the first time, we are all coming together for the holidays.
There is no shortage of scientific studies on the condition of our planet, nor lack of consensus. Our current system of production is linear, using nonrenewable resources, laying to waste what we no longer need. As our world population continues to grow, this way of development is dying. In the 1950s we had a world population of 2.5 billion. This has rocketed to nearly 7 billion today, and in 50 years, we’ll be looking at a world population that could range from 8 to 14 billion. With this large crowd dining at the world café, nobody gets seconds and some will get scraps.
The good news is that there is a new emerging field that’s bringing about a much needed paradigm shift. Born from the need to protect our planet and survive as a race, sustainability will ultimately be the field that unites humanity for the first time in history. Civil rights and environmental advocate Van Jones heralds the field of sustainability as the “wave that can lift all boats.” In essence, sustainability is our capacity to maintain our state of existence indefinitely. Humanity has to unite in order to survive.
The first step in this change is becoming aware of our impact. Here in America we’ve cut down 90 percent of our original forests. Our resource demands are so great that if every person on the planet lived like an American, we would need the resources of 6 or 7 planets just to survive. Is this fair? In the global north, our needs not only tax those in poorer countries, but tax those in future generations as well. Our planet’s shrinking resources, combined with our exponential consumption and population growth, are forcing us into a rebirth as a society.
For the first time ever, we are aware of each other as a global race. With the invention of the Internet, our geographical knowledge has exploded. You can now read the world news via satellite on your laptop in the middle of the Congo. You can place a phone call on your mobile phone from the summit of a mountain. Within all of this technology, we’ve lost our connection to the land. Few of us have an ecological knowledge that rivals our “primitive” successors. However, technology has given us a broader understanding of the complexities of nature.
This technological explosion has also given us the right to vote for change. Corruption is so easily exposed online now, through social networking. Any one of us can become a broadcaster through YouTube, blogs, or online forums. We should all be using this ability to demand change and renewable resources. We all have needs: needs for jobs, needs for technology, needs for innovation in design. Our society is based on our ability to fulfill these needs. Initiatives need to be taken to ensure that our demands are met in a renewable way, and this season, why not be a steward for sustainability and make over your own life? After all, this planet is our home, and we only have one chance.
The greatest gift that we can bestow on one another and the coming generations will be through conscious living and a lighter tread. Our thoughts and actions can no longer be solely about our individual lives, and need to include humankind as a whole. My favorite feature of the emerging paradigm is that it demands that there be no good or evil. If sustainability isn’t for everyone, then it’s for no one.
At this moment, we have no choice but to come together. How cool is that? No pun intended, but it’s time to come together to cool our planet off, ensure that life will persist, and commit to holistic living for all of humanity, regardless of race, gender, or nationality. For the first time in human history, sustainability allows us to peer into the realm of global peace, because in order to survive we have to unite.
This holiday season, I challenge you to set the model of good versus evil aside, and begin to see humanity in a new light. It’s time to set our judgments aside, embrace all walks of life, and work together towards creating a planet that is ecologically harmonious for flora, fauna, and humankind. If we as a human race manage to do so, sustainability will not only be the wave that raises all boats, it may also be the wave that creates peace.
Read more at Amy’s blog, Greener Fields.
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