What are You waiting for?

Published on
22 June 2011

We each need to do something – now.

That was the message from Dr. Kathleen Dean Moore at last night’s Moral Ground discussion at MCC. If you would like to leave a world to future generations as rich in possibilities as the world we were born into, then you need to take action.

Identify your passions – the things that bring you joy – and your gifts, and figure out where those intersect with the environment’s needs.

For example, Dr. Moore is a philosopher and a writer – those are her gifts and passions. So she decided to write a book, and to use her skills as a philosopher to develop strong arguments that she could use to inspire others to act.

One of those arguments really hit home for me — if you love the Earth (and all the known and unknown treasures it contains), and you believe that the Earth and those treasures are in trouble, you have an ethical obligation to act. It would be wrong to do nothing.

I do love the Earth and the abundance of life and mystery that it has. I love that there are many things that people will never know — like what early humans thought when they looked at the night sky, what was the creature like that first breathed air into a lung, or did the first squirrel to find – and eat – an acorn think “Yum” (in whatever way a squirrel might articulate that thought!).

I do believe that the planet – the the way we live today – is going to be a thing of the past, sooner than we want to believe. When we consider that if everyone living in China today were to live in the same way that the average American lives — two cars per family, television, computer, buying more stuff than they need at stores that don’t even pay their workers a living wage, the world would not have the resources to support it!

Think about that. In America, we live in a way that will never be enjoyed by most of the rest of the world. And by continuing to live this way, we are in fact reducing the quality of life for others.We are contributing to the spread of more deadly diseases by insects that thrive in the hot environment that is expanding across much of the planet. We are contributing to rising sea levels and increased violent storms that are forcing people from their homes. We are contributing to a melting polar ice cap that is displacing Inuit peoples from the land (or ice) that has been their home for thousands of years.

As Dr. Moore commented: “If aliens came to our world and started treating it the way we treat it – dumping poisons into our water, ripping mountain tops off for the coal and tossing the rubble into the rivers, putting poisons into the products we give to our children… We would be outraged, and we would fight back at these invaders’ treatment of our world.” But for some reason, when we are doing it to ourselves, we just take it as the price of doing business, or perhaps it seems too big a problem to tackle, so we go back to the couch and click on the TV.

Well, whether you want your grandkids to inherit a world as full of possiblities as the world you enjoy, or think it’s unjust to force other people from their homes because of the way we live, or just because you love the Earth and everything in it, act. Act now. Today.

Start small, start large, but make a change – and another and another. Do what you can, today and every day. If you care about the future, the time to act is now.

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