*Warning: Naughty language ahead!
Americans are anxious, and it is safe to say the world is on edge.
Millions of people are just wrapping up their annual pilgrimage to the homes of family members. As for my family, Fox News is always playing in the background, a subtle yet pernicious undertone of supremacy seeps into the discourse, and the resistance to fear presents itself as statements of frustration.
We are meant to thrive.
But, I can’t help but wonder if today will be the day that I encounter a shooter in the mall, in church, in the movie theater or right next door.
In some ways, San Bernardino is right next door. In other ways, so is the war in Syria. People are being displaced and America is asking a critical question: “Do we open our doors?”
The issues are consistent: Environmental well-being, health, distribution of wealth, civil rights and political agendas.
The intention to thrive may be present but it is not at the forefront. Rather, the energy of survival continues to dominate.
A mass domino effect continues to topple rationale and plunge integrity into chaos.
Plastic, poisonous farming practices, ideological wars, racism, fast-fashion, outsourcing of jobs, desecration of forests and excess are just some of the events that contribute to the repressive cycle of destruction.
So, what can be done?
At first nothing. Denial is a common reaction to overwhelm.
The “haves” spend a lot of time bitching that what they have is being taken away. And it doesn’t feel good having my time and money reallocated to institutions that enable rather than empower by the machine called government.
Does my vote count for anything?
It may not, but my dollar does.
So, the second step in doing something is ranting, which can sound somewhat like this:
The consequences are clear when the global rhetoric is dependent on few while the masses go mute.
Shootings were like smallpox this year.
Environmental disasters have reached apocalyptic heights. The clothes we wear, the food we eat, the places we shop have all been contaminated. The soil that grows the plants we use to nurture our bodies is soaked with poison.
So, fuck greed!
In fact, according to the documentary The Cost, a quarter-million farmer suicides occur every year because they are sold a lie and then their land gets taken for believing it. Nitrogen fertilizers are not meant for indigenous plants, so the plants have been modified to absorb the fertilizer and then sprayed with poison in order to offer higher yield, which only lasts for one or two seasons.
So, fuck Monsanto!
If we think environmental issues are just for hippies, we need to think again. Wars are waged over resources. What do we think we were and are doing in Vietnam, the Middle East and Africa? The war in Syria is a complicated one—one we don’t know how to win. In the meantime, the extremists are advancing the exacting of Armageddon.
After the rant comes ubiquitous conclusions.
This is an inconvenient truth: We suck as a species.
What serves to soothe—conclusion—actually can further the cycle of destruction.
Conclusion as a reaction actually creates walls. Setting a boundary as a response is the first step in being responsible.
2015 has set us up for several opportunities to respond.
According to Facebook’s Year in Review and infoplease.com, these were some of the top events of the year:
• The earthquake in Nepal
• Europe’s worst refugee crisis since WWII
• Liquid water was found on Mars
• Measles Cases Increase in the United States
• German Jetliner Carrying 150 Passengers Crashes
• Ireland Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage in a Historic Vote
• Millions Exposed by Computer Hacking Linked to China
• Warehouse Explosions Kill Dozens in China
The next step in answering the question, “What do we do?” is asking, “How can I contribute to peace?”
Overwhelm may set in because, once again, there are a lot of structures in place that support fear over peace. And, it is up to us to be the master of our minds.
It is up to us to respond.
It has been said that if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything. And convenience breeds apathy. So, beyond the question of “What do I do?” is the question, “Given the world we live in and the consequences of generations past, what do I want to create now?”
I don’t consider myself a political person. And I care about my environment. I care about being healthy. I have devoted my life to catalyzing others in doing the same.
Time is ephemeral. What is a year? What is a month? What is a moment?
It comes down to this—choices.
If 2015 taught us anything it is this: Be the change and do it now. Our bodies belong to Mother Earth and she is not property. It is time for reverence and respect. This has always been true.
And we are a singular and powerful force that can make a difference.
So, choose something—at least one thing—to contribute to: nature, animals, parenting, environmental protection, green causes, legalization of plants as medicine, the dissolution of corporate greed, oneness.
[Note from the author: If you take away anything, I hope it is this: You matter. And when you are feeling small, I hope you keep the big picture in mind.]
Author: Rebekah McClaskey
Editor: Toby Israel
Images: 2015 Year in Review/Vimeo