Last week I launched this blog with a ‘mere slip of a thing’ about saving a tiny piece of soap. It was the most minor, almost incidental example of a personal choice that reminds me, every time I shower, that there are new opportunities, every single day, to consume less, share more and do less harm…what I have come to call ‘Upstreaming’.
Today I want to lay out my reasons for this quite personal choice and why I should like to share this journey with you. Since I don’t have all the answers it seems like a good idea to ask a couple of questions.
Do the present ‘circumstances’ of the world demand any special action from the present population?
Is there a generally perceived problem facing the entire human race?
One overarching issue appears, at least to me, to be the population, which now stands at 7.3 billion and is increasing by about 14 million a year. By 2042 we are projected to reach 9 billion and to flatten out at 10 billion by 2064.
Water would appear to be the immediate critical issue and this is rapidly effecting basic crops and the energy generation that requires vast amounts of water for both steam and fracking for shale oil and natural gas.
Industry will likely suffer from these disruptions and, as a result, fewer goods may be produced and the demands of those coming out of poverty will be harder to satisfy. This could lead to social unrest as comparisons are made between competing cultures on the web and elsewhere.
Peace and goodwill toward all men is therefor unlikely, especially if we continue at our present pace of consumption. Major evidence of this trend will, I believe, become obvious by 2020 and critical by 2040.
Is there any action that can be taken to slow this decline in the quality of human life on this planet?
Indifference could well be the primary cause of the possible decline that faces us. Many are satisfied with the status quo…(for the most part), providing that we advantaged people can heat and cool and feed ourselves at reasonable prices. We may be aware of the increasing threat to those less fortunate but we can see little logical reason to believe that a decision to curb our use of basic resources would have the slightest impact upon ‘those other peoples’ lives.
I strongly believe that there is a solution and it is centered in the word RESILIENCE.
If I begin with my own self-interest and seek out regular habit patterns that may harm me, either physically, emotionally or spiritually and decide to make changes that are of benefit to my own life and those whom I love. Then move beyond my immediate self-interest, to embrace with compassion, those who are obviously at risk and to do so in a committed, consistent manner. Then I would begin to see the global risk factors addressed, even though the effect would be minimal. Others may at least see me as a ‘Flash of Silver’ encouragement and that is how movements begin.
The great obstacle to this idea is the word IMMEDIATE and this is the urgent demand made by our present communications systems that facilitates the modern marketing machine that drives consumption beyond our global ability to sustain such growth.
As a result I feel that there is a motive that can change my perception of the world for the better. To learn how to love my neighbor as myself and in so doing to seek how to do less harm to my family, my community, my world and myself and to work toward a return to resilience in all things, as apparently, was the original design intention?
This then, is my purpose as I commit to heading upstream on purpose, with you?
My slip of soap reminds me of this commitment every day and I get to smile as I lather!
Mount Vernon, Washington.
“I believe that I shall see the goodness of God in the land of the living”