The World is Ending

Not now, but possibly soon.  Let me clarify, the world isn’t ending so much as we are.  People.  By our own hand. It doesn’t need to happen, though.

I’ve been reading listening to Neil Stephenson’s new book, “SevenEves.” In the book, the moon explodes for reasons unknown to me at this point.  I’m not putting any spoilers here, so don’t worry.  In response, a worldwide effort to create a large enough presence in space to save a few thousand people, in hopes of the continuing existence of the human race.  In the final two years of life on Earth, the world reacts as a community – that is the important message for me at this point in the book.

A global community is what we need now.  The moon probably isn’t going to explode, and it’s unlikely that aliens will sweep in to destroy us.  It is true, however, that we are systematically committing suicide as a species, and we’re taking a lot of other species with us.  Climate change, overuse of natural resources, poisoning of the Earth with chemicals, manipulation of our food supply without concern for consequences – all of this is coming to its logical conclusion.  The erasure of the human species. And that’s just the environmental aspect.

We are also a society that is bent on self destruction in the name of individual preservation.  We allow the people next door (literally, in some cases) to die from exposure because they can’t pay the fuel bill.  We let children starve because their parents don’t make enough money to buy food.  We judge people by their faith, sexual orientation, gender, social status, intellectual ability, physical appearance, economic status, and find them unworthy of life.  It sounds harsh, I know, but it’s true.  By saying that the family on food stamps down the street doesn’t deserve that assistance because he doesn’t work or she’s had too many children, we deny them the dignity of feeding themselves.  Does their assistance rob us of food? No. It’s just that they are somehow “undeserving.”  Clearly the homeless man riding his bicycle around town picking up aluminum cans must have done something to become homeless, making him unworthy of help to find a home.  According to many people, that means he deserves to die in the street.  Just not their street where he might make an unsightly mess.

It’s time to stop judging, and start looking for solutions.  If we don’t take care of each other, who will?  Human beings are supposed to evolve, to become more.  Stronger, smarter, and I hope, more compassionate.  I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what an individual person can do, and it’s not much.  Mostly be an example.  There have been a lot of small movements in the past 20 years.  Pay it forward, random acts of kindness, free food, tiny houses, free education.  Alternative energy, recycling, and simple living.  Taken individually, each has it’s benefits.  Taken collectively, though, and it could be life-changing for the entire world.

Societally it’s become quite obvious that no one system of government is ideal.  Capitalism has failed spectacularly.  Communism, democracy, republics, monarchies, and oligarchies (capitalism by the rich) have all failed to address the very problems they were intended to fix.  We need a kinder, gentler way to live.  We need fairness in both wealth and resource distribution, tolerance in religious belief, acceptance of personal limits, and concern for everyone, not just the elite.

One movement in particular has my attention, lately.  Qetema is working to colaborately build a sustainable smart city.  It is a city that brings people together to work and live sustainable and equitably, governing by those same people.  Just in the planning stages, Qetema requires a huge paradigm shift in what a community is, and why it exists.  It will require new thinking in terms of work, education, and life.

We can, if we want it badly enough and work together as a whole, achieve such a community.  It’s not the only way, either.  We do have an existing framework that we can work within.  We have enough resources on this planet to support everyone.  We have the technology to stop using the fossil fuels that are polluting and destroying the environment.  We can house every person who’s living on the street, and for less than it costs for them to be homeless.  The possibilities are endless, and we’re only limited by our imaginations and our own bias.