Being “In This Together”
May 8, 2018 -Steve Hays
It was great being part of the EarthFair again this year. Great job by Carolyn Chase, Chris Klein and the many volunteers who brought it all together. Feels good, too, that it’s the world’s largest free environmental fair and Earth Day celebration—and it’s our community that collectively supports it. Congratulations to all for “Our” 29th Annual Earth Fair.
The theme this year really said for me: “We’re All in This Together.”
From an environmental perspective that’s obvious—there’s no Planet B.
The more I thought about being “in this together” the more it appeared to be a central part of the issues we hear about and hear debated, somewhere, every day. Notice how that is true.
I wrote this column then eliminated 1000+ words that listed both negative and positive environmental changes I found. I gave up the lists because I kept thinking about how we’re all in this together.
Isn’t it enough to know that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2013 described the plastic “garbage patches” as “small flecks of pepper floating throughout a bowl of soup?”
Or enough to say that when we eat fish also we ingest those plastic microparticles? And we drink it in over 90% of all bottled water containers? (EcoWatch.com)
And that our indoor and outdoor air contains microplastics that come from clothing fibers, carpeting, household furniture, furnishings— and don’t forget manufacturing cars—well, just about everywhere. It even settles on dishes and utensils. (ScienceDigest.com Feb. 2018)
Isn’t it enough to say that we constantly ingest or inhale it? And that every step of the way someone’s monetary profit increases as our health diminishes?
My lists kept running up against the fact we are not all in this together—and that it’s a conscious choice for many of us.
What plastic particles give us, however, is a place to join. Its undeniably true and universally shared—a, “We’re all in this together” condition.
Remember when Congress wanted to eliminate the ingredient list on baby food? Congress received the largest number of calls and letters they ever had. Don’t tell mothers and fathers they can’t not know what they feed their babies. Can we do that again?
Isn’t it depressing to think that even though Cracker Jack got rid of their plastic toys in 2013, we still may be inadvertently ingesting them, as we often did?
We are in this together—“we” meaning humanity—human beings. We are the older kinds of people that require more refined life support systems compared to the new one that run on profits.
Unlike our ancestors, with their limited concepts of what constitutes life-giving or sustaining energy—common, human resources—we now know that the universe supplies us with unlimited sources of energy. We have only to give up what limits us or stop polluting what’s provided, and look head to what’s already here.
We HBs have always fought for some kind of power or another. But hasn’t fighting for energy resources become obsolete? Giving that up would mean we’d be fighting only those holding on to the status quo. Hum, I may be speaking in the wrong tense. Aren’t we clearly seeing that some people need power anyway? Perhaps they lack something else? Many have collected more than they can ever use—but keep collecting. Is it a hoarding addiction?
We’ve come together to fight wars before. Can’t we create a sustainable, peaceful world together? Isn’t it when we think we are limited or what we need is limited that we divide and conquer ourselves?
When you look at what it would take to build clean, sustainable, non-toxic living and working environments we might find the biggest and healthiest job creator in history.
It makes tax credits and props to keep fossil fuel companies alive seem a bit quaint, doesn’t it? Tax refunds to create jobs? Definitely old-fashioned and strange given they don’t work and where technology is today.
Change would take leadership, of course. The good news is that there is a vacancy right now so anyone with ideas and plans that include all of us—as compared to benefitting a few of us—have a chance to fill the vacuum.
People are stepping up, but we may have to give up heroes if we want leadership. This might require considering ourselves as equals and co-contributors. No saviors, please; just new ideas, options, and plans without brand names or party labels to smog the review process.
What about building communities that give people what they need to grow, learn and develop into people that discover how to give back while living their lives to the fullest expression?
That might mean we’d have to give up our fears of not having enough and know that we live in communities that think in terms of all of us when the unexpected happens. How did we ever get to the idea that hoarding in case something bad happens was a way of living? Or that to be a hero or valuable you have to overcome incredible adversity? Doesn’t life provide enough of those challenges already?
How do we know current leadership isn’t there for all of us? One clue is when Rep. Paul Ryan asked for the House Chaplain’s resignation after he delivered a prayer to the House. It was right before the debate on the GOP tax bill. Timing is everything.
Imagine. He urged the House to “guarantee that there are not winners and losers under the new tax laws.” Maybe Ryan felt guilty about taking from the poor (health care and Social Security) and giving to the rich. He denies that that prayer got the minister fired.
Ultimately, we know each step of the way, our system is about winners and losers right now—not about all of us. Isn’t it obvious that wanting to be the only winner is a tad selfish?
Imagine if instead we tried something like John Oliver (in this issue) and paid off student loans so the generation stuck with that benefit of a few of us could help us create new communities and ways of living—ways that exhibit that we’re all in this together.