Our world population has now reached a little over 7.6 billion people and continues to grow. If you would like to see just how quickly, check out this cool link.
The majority of us will never meet. However, I like to consider all of us as neighbors. And like all good neighbors, we need to get along. A nice sentiment, but what does it mean exactly? Does it really mean that we need to get along with 7.6 billion other people. Well, it kind of does.
The question is how can we be good neighbors with someone who lives on the other side of the planet? In my humblest of opinions, it comes down to respect for each other, for our shared space, and for Mother Earth.
We’re all in this together. This being the lives in which we actively participate, including our mistakes and successes. This being our daily experiences from the mundane to the extraordinary. This being our fears and aspirations. This being our failed dreams, broken hearts, and the hope that inspires our future.
Things like job titles, salaries, etc, create divisions between us in terms of affluence and lifestyle. While these divisions can be seen and felt, they are superficial – sometimes hiding a fundamental truth. We are all human beings. No more, no less.
A Single Humanity
Our humanity, our struggles, and our desire to succeed make us equal. We need to remember that which unites us and forget the things we allow to divide us. This isn’t a new idea, and yet we continue to focus on our division, instead of our unity.
We need to accept that regardless of our superficial differences, we are all equal participants in a global community. Reason enough to respect each other, don’t you think?
Once we’re able to respect each other and our global neighbors, perhaps then, we can also accept that humanity is full of diversity, continuously shaping and painting our global mosaic in a multitude of beautiful colors. It’s time to celebrate that diversity. This is possible once mutual respect becomes intrinsic to our individual and global interactions.
A Beautiful Hostess
We interact globally within the shared space of our beautiful planet. Mother Earth, who acts much the same as a den mother, is the greatest hostess I know. She simultaneously provides for the basic and other needs of over 7 billion people. This designates her as the queen of multitasking.
She provides us with food, shelter, water and medicine through her natural resources. Scientists are still discovering the wealth of our planet’s natural resources and their benefits. Needless to say, Mother Earth has thought of everything, making her a first-rate caregiver as well.
Although Mother Earth is more than capable of providing for us, we need to cooperate with her. We need to stop being so egocentric, and realize that in addition to our shared humanity, we also have a shared responsibility.
As global neighbors, we need to care for our “den mother” as she cares for us. A mutually beneficial relationship based on our respect for her and for each other. According to scientists, the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. So, I don’t think we need to worry about the permanence of our hostess, at least not for several more billion years. A more immediate concern would be her continued ability to provide for our well-being.
Respecting everyone’s right to have their needs met, whereby citizenship is synonymous with global stewardship, we need to become more responsible about managing our planetary resources. There’s plenty to go around if we act responsibly. Problems arise when we take our abundant resources for granted, misuse and destroy them with no regard to the consequences.
The Way Forward
We’ve destroyed half of Earth’s trees since we’ve been here. That’s just one example of our irresponsibility. Either one of us could compile an entire list of examples. The consequences impact me, you, and our neighbor on the other side of the planet.
I’m not an environmental expert, but at the rate we’re abusing our resources, we will eventually destroy Mother Earth’s ability to provide for us. We need to act more responsibly as her guests. Something I think we can all agree on. Another point of unity.
And I have faith in us. We exist in a constant state of change, learning as we go. Hopefully, we can learn from our mistakes. Time will let us know definitively. Until then, I’m optimistic. My cup is always half full.
While as a species, we may still be experiencing growing pains, we will eventually learn to be good neighbors and stewards. It’s the only outcome that makes sense to me. We’re hard-wired to survive. We can’t survive without the resources so generously offered to us by our Earth Mother. So, we need to be better caretakers and learn how to share, insuring that there is always room for one more.
I wrote this very early on as an aspiring writer. Reading it now, I realize that it may have actually inspired my debut poetry book. In my book, I attempt to break down the walls that divide us to explore our common humanity.
I wrote this long before my first poem, so it just goes to show that we never know where our journey will take us.
Until next time, be kind to yourself.