The World Threatened
NOTE: There is still limited space available on my January trip to Guatemala and the Mayan shamans. My December trip to Peru is fully booked and closed out. Please sign up for Guatemala at http://www.johnperkins.org/a-journey-to-the-lands-of-the-maya-guatemala/
Now that the elections are over, it’s time to think about how we as individuals, and as a nation, respond to a world that is threatened by climate change, dysfunctional economies, terrorism and other crises around our planet. Democrats and Republicans alike must look to the critical issue of how we move into the future. In dealing with other countries, there are three main choices: we can turn away from disasters that occur there, we can take advantage of other people’s problems, or we can reach out with help that is unencumbered by political motives.
Every day the news is full of reports that demonstrate the great malaise that is facing the world. We hear about random shootings in schools, attacks by ISIS, upheaval in the Middle East, and aggressive diseases. With the fear of Ebola turning people and nations against each other, rumors of Russian tanks in Ukraine, and the richest 85 people in the world having as much money as the poorest 3.5 billion people, we can see vividly how much the world needs to change.
Much of this turmoil is caused by the Death Economy; people are sometimes driven to violence by insanity or greed, but more often by external pressures. Desperate people have seen their lands ravaged by oil drilling, their farms flooded by dams, and their fishing waters destroyed by commercial “fish factories” and pollution. Their families are going hungry due to “free” trade agreements that favor Big Agriculture and Big Business, and they are homeless because of urbanization or government policies that discriminate against them. In the long-term the only way to end acts of terror that result from such desperation is to do away with the causes.
In areas around the world that are torn apart by violence and hate, the impact goes deeper than food and shelter. Economic and political stability have been threatened, and future generations of leaders are in jeopardy. The hope and independence of entire communities has been endangered, often by policies and actions intended to help corporate bottom lines, not human beings and the world in general.
By creating a Life Economy – one that cleans up pollution, offers ways for hungry people to feed themselves, and invests in new energy, transportation, recycling, banking and marketing systems and results in a world that is peaceful, just, and spiritually fulfilling for all — we can end the underlying causes of collective violence. We can help fellow human beings escape desperation and the perceived need to attack others by providing for basic human needs such as health care, shelter, and access to education. In the process, a new type of economy will evolve, one that has the potential for full employment globally.
Response as a Nation
Current crisis situations and the people who have to endure them – refugees of ISIS, victims of civil war, those at risk of Ebola, etc — are in need of basic humanitarian assistance that the US is fully capable of providing. But will this government repeat old mistakes of bullying, exploiting, and fear-mongering? Or will it chose a different path and lead by example?
The US as a superpower justifies the use of military might to wipe out what it determines as “the enemy,” and on the other hand proclaims its responsibility to respect the sovereignty of other nations and the lives of the innocent in the region. It must respond in a way that empowers communities and individuals to regain their dignity and independence and hope. Only by achieving this can we as a nation and a planet move into a future our children deserve.
Response as Individuals
Each of us can choose to help. Traveling to the affected areas may be one option, but there are ways to help from home, too. We can donate money and time to organizations that are on the ground helping those affected by violence and war. And we can each take a stand by telling our government how to respond. Writing letters and emails to our representatives and calling our leaders about providing aid without strings attached will send the message that we won’t stand for bullying in the name of humanitarianism.
Above all, let’s not forget the power of the purse. Purchasing goods and services from corporations and stores dedicated to a sustainable environment and social and economic justice for their workers and those of their suppliers is practicing a potent form of marketplace democracy. We can make our spending even more powerful by sending emails to those companies and stores praising them for their policies and sending emails to the companies that we do not support urging them to change their ways. This is an essential element to the Life Economy. It also establishes us in the role of teachers to the rest of the world.
We are all teachers when we follow our hearts and passions; we can educate ourselves and our friends and family about these issues instead of reacting out of fear and ignorance. When I am asked what we can do to help make the world a better place for all of us, I respond that when people follow their passions and concentrate their energies magic happens. As teachers and leaders, each of us has a powerful role to play on this tiny space ship.
Our response is bigger than political affiliations and geographical boundaries; it is imperative that we see the Death Economy as an evil that must end.
Our choices as individuals impact our actions as a nation. As we learn to see that both those driven to acts of terror and those devastated by violence are desperate people who need our help, we are motivated to accept a more active part in stopping the mayhem. Desperate people need a Life Economy that provides for essential human needs of each man, woman, and child who shares this planet. We all need a Life Economy. It is in our power to help. It is our time to respond, to wake up and reach out.
January 16-23, 2015: Journey to the Land of the Maya – Guatemala: http://www.johnperkins.org/a-journey-to-the-lands-of-the-maya-guatemala/
January 24-31, 2015: “A Revolution in Consciousness: Personal & Global Transformation” With the Omega Institute http://www.eomega.org/visit-us/omega-costa-rica/schedule/week-4/
February 12-13, 2015: “Shapeshifting a Death to a Peace Economy” with Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat in the Bahamas: http://www.sivanandabahamas.org/course/yoga-for-peace-changing-the-world-from-the-inside-out-february-2015/
February 20-22, 2015: “Shapeshifting the Story” with Charles Eisenstein and Dream Change at Pendle Hill, PA: http://dreamchange.org/upcoming-workshops/