Age of Awareness
Published in

Age of Awareness

What Can I Do About The State Of The World?

Small actions taken by many people can lead to profound changes for future generations.

Dissatisfaction with the system

The current capitalist system that now controls the majority of the world has delivered numerous benefits that we now take for granted, at least for humankind. However, it has also brought with it many negative aspects which are now becoming more and more evident. By far the most significant of these is the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change resulting from capitalism’s requirements for never ending growth and the extraction and consumption of Earth’s resources. But flaws in the system are also responsible for increasing inequality that is pushing our societies towards breaking point. The divides may be racial, biological, social or cultural but the common denominator is that the system creates a world where everyone strives to enrich themselves at the expense of everybody else. The result is that we’re all too busy biggering and bettering ourselves (to paraphrase The Lorax) to even stop and consider what we really want out of life. At best, this creates a feeling of emptiness inside and lack of true fulfillment in life. At worst, it is manifesting itself in high levels of anxiety, depression and other severe mental and physical health problems that are on the increase around the world.

What can we do about it?

So, is there anything that we, as individuals and small communities, can do to change the state of the world or are we just helpless pawns in this all-powerful system that is careering towards social and environmental collapse? I put out the question on various social media platforms and was quickly inundated with all manner of practical, well-informed suggestions. Here is a brief summary of what I received back:

  • Influence your own network of friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances, with an emphasis on dialogue without judgement.
  • Engage in activism and political pressure at every level, including how you use your vote.
  • Be aware of your impact on others, on your society and on the planet.
  • Be aware of the issues surrounding climate change.
  • Develop consciousness about energy usage, energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy.
  • Support and invest in companies that are socially and environmentally responsible.
  • Make mindful choices relating to travel and transport, including the use of bicycles, electric cars and the avoidance of air travel.
  • Make mindful choices relating to food and nutrition with an awareness of where food has come from and the impact of its production on the land and surrounding ecosystems. Many people also recommend adopting a vegan diet.
  • Consume less. Where possible, try to reuse, repair and buy second hand. When purchasing items, do whatever you can to minimise packaging and consider how you might dispose of an item at the end of its life.
  • Take only what you need. Give more than you take (this point reminds me of the ‘Honourable Harvest' described by Robin Wall Kimmerer in her wonderful book, Braiding Sweetgrass)
  • Connect with nature and the more-than-human world.
  • Try to step back from the intense activity and ambition of modern life. Instead, make time and space to nurture kindness, patience and understanding. Learn how to do nothing.
  • Focus on positivity. Celebrate progress and opportunity rather than shaming everyone into feeling that they are not doing enough.
  • Trust that every little bit helps. We can only bring about profound far-reaching change if we all do our bit. On top of this, it feels much better to be actively doing something about the situation.

Investment in the future

Such transformative change can start straight away if we are willing to embrace it. However, the present system is deeply ingrained, not only in our built environments and globalised societies but also in the values and behaviours of every one of us who has been brought up steeped in the capitalist way of life. In order to bring about the fundamental change that we need, we must now properly invest in future generations.

An alternative educational approach

Anna Dusseau puts forward a powerful argumentfor an alternative educational approach in her recent book, The Case For Homeschooling. Her argument is that the modern schooling system, in the UK but also other modern developed countries, is not well suited to learning or growth in children. Far from it. Children learn best when they have space to grow, discovering the world, who they are and what they are interested in for themselves. This ignites passions, develops sophisticated, well-rounded individuals and fosters a lifelong desire to learn that will endure throughout that person’s life. The current schooling system is characterised by high levels of competition; rigorous testing at every level; the best part of every weekday spent away from a child’s family with others of only their age (a situation unlikely to be encountered at any other point in a person’s life); most of the day spent indoors engaged with an extremely narrow curriculum of purely intellectual focus. None of this is conducive to growth and discovery in a child. On the contrary, it will only encourage each new generation to slip mindlessly into the workings of the machinelike system. And then many children are whisked off to participate in other activities by ‘well-intentioned adults,’ thus robbing them of their remaining free time that they might use for their own personal growth.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Faron Sage

Socially-conscious writer & musician exploring pressing issues at the heart of 21st century life. Check out https://faronsage.org - music for a better world!