I’ve been thinking lately about how we live not as individuals, but as a society. Or, to put it more accurately, how individuals acts individually to act as a society, if that makes sense.
The thought occurred to me…I’m not happy with the way the world works, it feels like that human as a whole have such a great potential, and we do achieve some amazing things, but while our highs get higher, I can’t help feel that our lows are still far too low.
We’re doing some amazing things in terms of understanding more about our own health, and exploring space, while simultaneously we still are not able to deliver clean water and basic supplies to the entire world.
I have heard the argument that it is possible to do so, but we are not able because of politics, and so on. This isn’t an excuse, it is still part of “us” and the end result is still a large scale failure to give a shit about how other people live.
And so, if the world is not the place I think it could be, I started to wonder about my own role in the world, and if I am one of those people helping and hindering progress.
While I think of myself as a fairly “model” citizen, I’m not perfect. However, if everyone was like me, we could probably leave all our houses unlocked and the keys in our cars and motorbikes, because nobody would steal. Women could walk home at night, safe in the knowledge that there wouldn’t any chance that they would be raped. Police departments would be rather idle.
However, in terms of how much I consume, it clearly would not be a sustainable planet if everyone lived like me. I live with my brother, and we probably drink one to two large plastic bottles of water each day. If that is the case, that would be 7 billion plastic bottles per day. To put that into perspective, the entire United States use about 50 billion bottles per year.
So, if the world’s resources are finite, and I am taking more than my fair share of the available pie, then I must, logically, be taking from someone else. The incredible thing is that it doesn’t feel like I am taking away resources or things from other people.
I mean, I am not out in the shops fighting people for common house-hold goods. However, the way society is setup is that you can take more than your fair share without having to deal with the nitty-gritty of actually taking someone else’s share, because that is already done on your behalf. You just need to get your wallet out and pay the asking price.
With this in mind, I am beginning to seriously relook at the way I live, and see if there are changes I can make, however insignificant, so that I am taking less of a share of the world, and leaving enough for other people.
This makes me think of two quotes that I recently read.
Be the change that you wish to see in the world.’
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.