Is it just me, or do you feel like the entire world is falling apart?
Although we have come a long way from where we once were, there is still so much progress to be made. Climate change, racial biases, gender inequalities, human trafficking/slavery, healthcare issues, gun violence, mental illness, environmental negligence - all of these things still plague our planet and species today. Things have vastly improved over the years (although you might not believe it), but we still have a long way to go.
The problems mentioned above all appear to be vaguely broad, not to mention completely different. When you dig deeper and focus on the root cause of the majority of these issues, you'll find that they're really not so different after all. In fact, there is one simple solution, or mindset rather, that could drastically change the world.
How Did We End Up Here?
America strongly promotes equality & freedom, although history shows otherwise. When the settlers came to America they took whatever land and resources they desired, they destroyed communities and tribes, and shrunk the Native American population from 5-15 million down to roughly 240,000. During this period of time, slavery became rampant; Native-Americans & Africans were captured or traded as slaves to help colonials with their plantations and other labor. Not only that, but women were pieces of property; they were hardly an entity on their own outside of a marriage, and legally weren't able to own any land or handle their money. Then the industrial revolution hits and capitalism soared to an all time high. People began doing almost anything & everything to get the most money in the fastest amount of time, killing people, animals and our planet in the process.
Fast forward to todays situation in the USA, where things are different but they're not perfect. All of these problems still persist: gender inequality, racial discrimination & slavery are still huge problems. And on top of it all, we still haven't realized that we're destroying our planet, our only home, at an alarming rate.
As much as I hate to say it, our country has not moved on from any assumed superiority or self-righteousness that we saw at its inception. We are trapped in a society that makes our people & planet the last priority with the first priority being money. Apparently, humans are smarter than animals, they're better than the environment, and unfortunately, some humans think they are better than others.
Why Is All Of This Important?
All of this is important because believe it or not, it is all related. Our country started off with selfishness, assumed superiority & entitlement. People have a history of creating "group hierarchies" if others appear to be outside of their "social group". Studies show that this social identity mindset is still prevalent in our society today, even if it's not always a conscious thought. It's unfortunate that in this century, we're consistently pinning people up against each other based on their differences, rather than celebrating them. We're actually more similar than you think. In fact, the Human Genome Project uncovered that, in the 3 billion base pairs of genetic makeup they studied, humans were 99.9% identical to each other. Even domestic cows share 80% of their genes with humans - please, let that sink in for a moment.
We have become so consumed with our individual selves and getting on top, and so blind to the countless amounts of interconnectivity in this world. Don't we realize that our unnatural control of animals & nature directly impacts our environment? Or that, how we treat the planet directly impacts our health as human beings? Or that, our disconnection to other humans and lack of interpersonal relationships is the reason that depression and anxiety are plaguing our society, a number that jumped 18% from 2005 to 2015, according to the World Health Organization.
I guess my main question is, when will we realize that these connections will save us in the long-run? Many species and civilizations thrive by living in harmony with one another. Not everything is mutually exclusive and a lot of times things are actually mutually beneficial. Think about all of the symbiotic relationships in nature, the most relevant being the human body: We have multiple millions of strains of bacteria, balancing themselves, living inside of us every day. If we didn't, we'd catch a plethora of illnesses & die. These synergistic relationships are found throughout nature in millions of different ways.
What Can We Do Today To Change The Future?
We need a massive mindset shift. We need to start understanding this us-versus-them mentality (against other people, other animals & against nature) are completely irrelevant and not sustainable. We need to be more perceptive to the endless amount of interconnectivity in life and make decisions that support it. As Rachel Carson, an environmentalist, says it best, "Mans attitude towards nature today is critically important, simply because we've now acquired a fateful power to alter and destroy nature. But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself."
At the end of the day, we are all living on the same planet, breathing the same air, eating the same food from the same soil; If we use and destroy all of Earth's resources and are consistently competing with each other in the process, not only do I fear for all of our children in the future, but the human civilization could be cut short.
We have the capacity to create and implement this change. By shifting our mindset from competition to collaboration, we can create a more harmonious, long-lasting & sustainable world.
Thanks for reading & let us know what you think in the comments below!
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