vFor all our conceits about being the center of the universe, we live in a routine planet of a humdrum star stuck away in an obscure corner … on an unexceptional galaxy which is one of about 100 billion galaxies. … That is the fundamental fact of the universe we inhabit, and it is very good for us to understand that.
– Carl Sagan, astronomer and writer (1934-1996)
Do we live on a routine planet? Certainly if size matters earth is a dwarfy orb. The only thing keeping earth from being removed as an official planet by the world body that determines such things (International Astronomical Union?), as Pluto was recently, is that we get to make the rules.
Humdrum star? Our sun is on the small side of medium, at its most optimistic estimate. Obscure corner? We’re certainly not front and centre of the Milky Way. Unexceptional galaxy? Among billions of galaxies, the Milky Way looks most magnificent only to us.
Then why the hubris about our being the most magnificent thing ever created? The Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) told us that because they wanted their adherents to believe that humans were the ultimate creation. To be that, we had to live on a world that was the centre of the universe with everything revolving around us. Including the sun and the rest of the planets in our solar system–the stars that didn’t blink, to the ancients. Turns out most of that was wishful thinking.
They told us that we humans had dominion over our planet. To them, the ancient, crude Bedouin tribes that created the religions that trace their ancestry back to Abraham, that meant that we were the greatest and that we could do whatever we wanted with the planet, its animal life and its plant life.
And we have. Rather, the leaders among us have and the rest of us just followed along because we needed the income.
Now we realize that we have at least partly destroyed our home planet in ways from which it can never recover. We worry about our atmosphere warming by a degree, but we don’t worry about the poisons in the air that are causing the warming as well as causing untold harm to our health, including diseases that were never important until recently.
Now we have the problem with the bees. Biological scientists estimate that 85 percent of the plant life on earth depends on bees in one form or another. Forty-five percent of the food we eat is influenced in some critical way (usually by pollination) by bees. Now hives of honeybees all over the world that make our food supply possible are dying off by the millions at a time. No one knows why. Perhaps the most major key to our food supply is disappearing and we have no idea how or why. Billions of bees die daily.
Is that something we want to blame on a defect of nature? Are we prepared to do something to stop our atomosphere from warming by a degree, but allow the human population of the world to be decimated by lack of food because we believe that nature is throwing us a bad break?
There are many reasons why we should be humble and look at how we fulfill our role as dominators of the planet, preferably before we make ourselves extinct. CEOs of large corporations and political leaders who subscribe to this need to be humble and to work to make earth a better place so that we can survive are as scarce as hen’s teeth.
That leaves it up to us ordinary folks who are just trying to make our way in the world without causing ourselves much grief. But ordinary folks are used to following what their leaders tell them, not taking leadership roles ourselves.
If our political and business leaders won’t help us change, who can we turn to? We must find a leader among ourselves.
Remember that poor but populous former British colony called India? When it had fewer than half the population its has today and wanted to get from under its yoke of virtual slavery, it turned to a little guy who hadn’t even grown up in India, Mohandas Gandhi, to lead them. Gandhi never did become the political leader of India. He just said the right words to the right people. Together, in enormous multitudes, Indians followed Gandhi until the British had no choice but to grant independence to its colony.
No violence was ever proposed by Gandhi. Only peaceful demonstrations and walks. He believed that people can get their way if they talk–with support in great numbers–with the people who rule them.
We need leaders who will look more at us and our needs than admiringly at themselves in their mirrors. We must find leaders from among us. Now, before we begin to starve.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, striving to show the need for a new kind of leadership, of leaders who care more about the welfare of their people and their planet than about big business.
Learn more at http://billallin.com