I’d like make a difference in the world, to do my part in helping to fix what I see as humankind’s dangerous path of environmental destruction that threatens to get far, far worse before it gets better. The long-term trend lines for just about everything— greenhouse gasses, habitat destruction, soil erosion, groundwater depletion, species extinctions, the list goes on—are frightening.
But I was thinking, maybe my efforts are not enough. We have these huge problems, and I’m not sure enough people are paying attention. I’d like to be doing more. I write, I show one of the Leafs to someone just about every day, I try to live my own life intentionally, and in ways that will help to shift the system. But I was at a large gathering of friends and relatives the other day, and was looking around at the crowd, most of whom I know, and was thinking that we have an awful long way to go. The problems of people or the environment in faraway places, or problems that won’t fully manifest themselves for decades, just aren’t foremost in most people’s minds.
People are pretty distracted by things that are trivial in the big scheme of things. We live in a world of information overload, and the information is often designed and focus-group tested specifically to gain and hold our attention. Every business out there would love to capture your attention. Every author, every blog writer, every charity, every corporation, every movement, every religion, every movie studio or television producer—all wanting your attention, your money, your efforts. At the same time, we’re as busy as humans have ever been. Most of us, in the wealthy world, and the U.S. in particular, are probably busier than we have to be; caught up in consumerist patterns and a quest for material possessions. All of this makes it hard for any message to gain traction, and that includes the environmental one.
So I was feeling as if I didn’t have enough power to change things. BUT, then I realized that, by my very own definition of how this needs to go, that I’m not saving the planet all by myself. Like I outlined in my post the other week, “A Potential Path Forward”, one person can’t do it alone. A thousand people can’t do it (though they can certainly make a difference). It will take millions. My metaphor in that post was of people pushing on a ship like the Titanic and trying to turn it. I can’t forget that I’m just a single person, pushing. So, to channel Dory in “Finding Nemo”—Just keep pushing, pushing, pushing…
Image credit: snehit / 123RF Stock Photo
Update 1 July 2013– My daughter has informed me that the character in “Finding Nemo” is “Dory”, not “Dora”. I have changed the post.