Want to save the world? Be intentional

Photo credit: Flickr user woodleywonderworks

Leaving my job essentially cleared my calendar. Cleared my mind. Freed me up to think more critically about how I spend my time, my energy, my resources. I knew (and know) I want to use my time, energy, skills, gifts, resources, experience to help more.

At the same time, there are no shortages of people, areas, and issues that could use my (our) help. I didn’t know where to start. I wish I could do everything. But I can’t. So figuring out how and where to focus my time and energy is critical. So is asking why. Why do I want to put my energy, resources, and time to something? Well, essentially to help and make a difference and spark change.

I went through something similar when I was deciding what I wanted to go to grad school for. Long story short, at the time, I discovered that I believed information and equal access to information was at the heart of what I wanted to do. If people have equal access to information, anything is possible.

What am I most passionate about? What touches me the most? Women’s rights and equality for sure. Racial justice and equity definitely. Equality is at the heart of it.

I realized this morning that there is something bigger. I don’t know that I’ll spend all of my time and energy and resources on this, but I do know that unless and until we address our biggest threat, our biggest challenge, everything else doesn’t matter. You know what that is? Climate change. Justice for Mother Earth.

Mother Earth doesn’t care if you’re a woman or a man. Mother Earth doesn’t care if you are black or white, Jewish or Christian. ISIS or a Muslim. Have nuclear power or not. Have billions of dollars or not. If we don’t essentially give Mother Earth equal rights, our time, attention, and resources it won’t matter if any of us do. It won’t matter if we have tax cuts. It won’t matter if we have affordable housing. It won’t matter if we have control over our own bodies. It won’t matter if we let immigrants in and stay or not. Mother Earth knows no boundaries. Mother Nature doesn’t discriminate. Mother Earth doesn’t judge.

It’s overwhelming, I know. But I think we can all start to help, make change, and take action by figuring out where and why we spend our time, resources, energy on. If we identify why and where we spend our time, resources, and energy on, we can be more intentional about it. Do I really need to drive for that errand? Do my kids really need to be involved in so many activities that involve so much driving? Do I really need to buy that thing? Do I really need a large house to fill with more things? Do I really need to go into the office? Do I really need to take that trip (especially business travel)? Do I really need to turn on the A/C? And, one huge question that is going to be very controversial, but I’m going to ask it anyway: do I really need to have kids? Do I really need to have another child? Or at least a biological one? Do we really need another human to take more limited resources away? Maybe adopt. Or foster. Same goes for animals. Maybe you don’t buy an animal from a breeder. Maybe you adopt or foster one that already exists.

To be clear, I’m not judging people for having children, I’m not shaming parents, I don’t hate children. I’m not judging or shaming people for driving or buying things. I’m just wondering if we don’t already have enough people and stuff in this world. I drive, I buy things, I travel, I may have children in the future, I will likely get another pet at some point. But I’m going to try doing all of these things with intention, asking myself why and if it is really needed or wanted. There are more than enough people, animals, things in this world that need resources that are limited, that need our care, time, attention, and resources. I’m simply asking a question with no judgement or even opinion. Do what you want/need to do — just ask why you want or need to do it. Do it, buy it, produce it with intention.

People aren’t going to stop driving places. People aren’t going to stop buying things. People aren’t going to stop working. People aren’t going to stop spending resources that really aren’t theirs to spend. But if we could all evaluate a bit more critically about why, how, and where we spend our time, energy, and resources, we might be able to be more intentional with where we drive, what we buy, what we produce, what we throw away, where we spend our time, our resources, our creation.