2017 Earth Report
By Mark Boyer
The summer of 2017 has been a particularly challenging time. There have been an unusual number of major natural disasters around the world, including floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires. There are many who deny the interrelationship of humans and climate, and there will undoubtedly be even greater disasters as long as necessary infrastructure improvements are ignored and as long as harmful human habits are ignored.
Wars continue to flourish with no sign of greater understanding or reconciliation. Millions of people are now displaced in the world, and loss of lives through war continues to build sorrow and animosity. The war machine has also sadly become tightly interwoven into the overall economy and corporate profits of some countries.
While significant effort has been dedicated to fighting disease, even health care and pharmaceutical companies have become obscene sources of profit. And one wonders if some of the recommended cures are worse than the diseases. Meanwhile many individuals experience bankruptcy and despair while elusive cures continue to exist.
There appears to be a trend in the world among some countries toward nationalism and blind faith patriotism that recognize freedom and justice for some and not for others. Unfortunately corruption and prejudice within governments exacerbates many problems, and there is need for more politicians and leaders who are genuinely committed to service and improved conditions for everyone. Some will suggest that private for-profit enterprises are the solution, but these can often be more corrupt and mercenary. Honest and fair public services need a lot of work, but can be a way to improve opportunities for everyone.
Religion is sometimes used as a tool to justify divisive actions, which sadly can be devoid of a true humanitarian agenda. Even closing of doors to people desperately in need is sometimes defended. There can also be great zeal about whose religion is the right religion. More wars in the history of the world have been caused under the banner of religion. Religion has the power to make some people better human beings and some people worse human beings. And some people find the way to be better human beings without religion.
Groups of people and countries are sometimes “judged” harshly without directly knowing them or attempting to understand them. These people and countries become regarded as “others,” and efforts are sometimes pursued to make their lives more complicated, difficult, and dismissive. And sometimes there is talk of total annihilation.
Employers sometimes show no loyalty or respect to employees because of various biases and higher regard for budgets/profits. This can have devastating consequences to workers who have been loyal and who trusted that they were working in a fair and caring system. The rights and respectful treatment of workers remains an issue in many countries, particularly profit-driven systems that deny people liveable wages and critical social services.
There is sometimes a misunderstanding of status or hierarchy of life. All of life, including animals and the environment, is important. Status and hierarchy are only constructed by those who aspire to power and control.
Some indigenous people have a wisdom about the world that has been forgotten by modern civilization. KOYAANISQATSI is a Hopi word for “life out of balance.” The only way to create balance is to clearly and critically distinguish between what creates well-being and what creates disharmony. Well-being is about balance between individual freedom and the “good of society.” To over-compensate in either direction creates discord.
The world is at a critical turning point where people either move beyond tribes, political affiliations, and countries for a higher and more collaborative purpose or everything will inevitably go tumbling down. There is also an important ongoing need to stand up for people who have been regretfully marginalized, so that they are also fairly represented.
Whether people recognize it or not, all of life is interdependent. It appears there is a majority of people who want to create better communities and a better world. The key to success will always be to not give into “dark sides,” but rather to collectively move forward passionately with deep levels of honesty, trust, wisdom, and compassion. The work can be hard and sometimes may feel endless, but it is worth it.
All of life depends on it.