In these days of heightened awareness about our environment, climate change and the world around us, we are being asked to make adjustments to how we live to ensure a future on our planet for our children.  It is almost as if we need to admit our mistakes about how we have been living with little or no regard for Mother Earth of for that matter, each other.  Let’s look at where we are and consider what we can do to make a simple and effective change that will make a difference.

In the past years, the “I” generation has focused on themselves and what they feel they need and want to make themselves “happy”. Living irresponsibly without care or overwhelmedconcern for our actions and their impact over time; and, the use of natural resources with little consideration for the future has depleted the capability of the environment to be able to heal and re-charge itself.  Environmental “illness” has become pervasive as pollution and toxic waste seems to “choke” the Earth’s ability to heal Herself.  We have created “sophisticated garbage” that “needs” to be buried in our landfill sites and oceans as it will not biodegrade in thousands of life-times. “Out of sight out of mind!” The Earth is sick!

It is a very sad state that politically lacks a collective will to overcome the challenges.  There has been and will be much debate on how to make changes and what to do.  The desire to legislate controls on consumers, industry and manufacturers seems to be as weak as our own self-discipline.  We are told that there will be a “price to pay” to clean up our environment.  As an example, British Columbia is introducing a Carbon Tax to the sale of gasoline to raise billions of dollars in order to start repairing the harm done to the environment by years of carbon emissions and resource misuse.  Isn’t it ironic that we have to tax ourselves to reduce toxic carbon emissions from gasoline use only to receive a perceived benefit in the environment and a partial return on our taxes later on?

Reality “TV” tries to entertain us to “soften” the news and divert our attention away from the environmental and social challenges in our world, country, cities, and neighbourhoods.  Collectively, we agree that the world is a mess! Our world’s increased hunger and disease is hidden by our local “weight loss” challenges.  Becoming a “Big Loser” is now becoming a good thing!

At all levels, our will and attention is focused upon ourselves and what we want to make ourselves happy, pain free and comfortable. We look at what others have, want it and more… so that we don’t fall behind in the never ending cycle of keeping up with little hope of improving our lives and our life circumstance.  Lifestyle has become a modern day mantra.

Our divorce rates are climbing; single-parenting is becoming the norm while drug and alcohol use is on the increase.  Health care is less accessible with wait-times increasing due to doctor and nurse shortages.  Employment is decreasing while oil prices skyrocket.  Prices are going up on everything and we are pointing fingers at those who we perceive as having the most greed while attempting to earn more to keep up.  The distance between rich and poor escalates.  The gap between the morally impoverished and the faithful is widening as the “church of the consumer” is open 24/7.

We have learned to focus on the negative and to complain as we are challenged to keep up.  We feel helpless to make changes that will make a difference and often fall sort of what we could do or use to be able to do as our buying power decreases.  Our will may start to “crumble” to do whatever is easiest or most convenient.  On a very personal level, it translates into doing and eating whatever you want without concern for yourself, others or the environment.  Translated – we consume non-nutritious substances from non-biodegradable and non-recyclable containers while being “entertained” by “reality” programming from our “easy chairs”.   The body that is designed to heal itself can no longer do so from the excesses of the wrong things to eat and do.  Like Mother Earth, we become sick!

We could go on with describing this sad situation.  If you are still reading this depressing article, you may be asking – who really needs more of this stuff?  Talk about man’s inhumanity to man; man’s inhumanity to him/herself and man’s short sightedness for the future of the world around us!  Could it get worse? Yes, if we let it!

Riding an elevator with a wealthy farmer who was gravely ill gave me a “gem” worth sharing.  He stated “I would rather have my health then my wealth.”  was it too late for him?  Yes, he did die shortly after seeing him but it did not prevent him from making a difference in the time he had remaining on this Earth.  After taking care of his wife and children, he gave the rest of his wealth away knowing that he could not take it with him and that he could not buy his way to heaven.  He wanted to make a difference!

gratitudeattitudeMy friend did try to provide an example of “how to live” to his children and friends.  The secret for him was to live “caring fully”.  Everything he was given was viewed as a gift and a resource to be used to wisely to feed his family, friends and the world.  Yes, he was a man of great faith who acted on his faith while honouring the beliefs of others.  When in his company, you always felt him reaching out to understand, learn and listen to those around him.  He always seemed to be listening and talking little except when asked.  Additionally, you rarely saw him act on your behalf.  He cared fully for his family, friends and all those with whom he had contact.  He cared fully for his farm, his livestock, his neighbours and the world around him.  He was a man of peace, compassion and understanding of our connection to our environment and the Universe.  He acted responsibly, rarely wasted anything, respected everything and everyone, recycled what he could, supported others in his broad community and managed his footprint on this Earth

with care and concern.  He ate well, was never overweight and always had lots of exercise as part of his daily farming activities.  To his family and friends, if there was one thing that they would have liked to see him do more often it would have involved him taking better care of himself.

Taking care of yourself, your friends and relatives is a very challenging and involved process.  To increase your level shutterstock_163960505of caring by extending it to people in your community, the global community and our Earth is an even bigger challenge and something not everyone can do or is suppose to do.  The essence and challenge of Caring Fully involves learning to care for others and the environment beyond your present frame of reference.  In the scheme of things, maybe you are doing a lot to make this a better world right where you are with the resources and opportunities that you have…not for any reward but for the satisfaction of knowing that you are making a difference.  I ask you to ask yourself if there is something more that you might do.  “Caring Fully” doesn’t always involve a lot of time and money.  It can include random acts of kindness as an opportunity unfolds for you to help others.  It may involve being considerate, respectful and honouring others and our environment.  It may involve simple acts like picking up someone’s used coffee cup while hiking on a trail and placing it in a garbage receptacle which is usually only steps away.

Think about the “Ecology of Caring” for others and our Earth.  A change in outlook and simple acts can create a different environment with reduced toxicity and waste.  Recycle your thoughts and develop “Circles of Caring”.  Examine what your present parameters are for caring and what it would involve to include one more person, one more act to help the environment or one more act to make a difference globally.  Sometimes, this one more act is as simple as saying a prayer.

Care Fully!

Ron Petker