Everything must change. This is a thought that’s been on my mind a lot lately. Why is the world in such a sorry state with so much pollution, inequality, discrimination, destruction of natural habitats, disregard for animals and growing concern for the sustainability of our world and our future? Well, unfortunately, this is the sum total of everything we’ve been doing for the past couple of hundred years. If we want things to improve, then there’s no avoiding the fact that almost everything we’ve been doing must change. We can’t just play around at the edges, or blame a small part of the world’s population, everything must change. Everything!
There is a growing awareness now that the way humans are living on this Earth is unsustainable. Pollution is continually rising, particularly air pollution and plastic pollution; and the destruction of natural environments continues at pace. We can now see that the climate is changing very rapidly. In general, we certainly aren’t living life in the right direction. If we want to correct this and actually have a future for human civilisation, then everything must change. Here I mean “everything” in an almost complete sense. Even things we hold dearly are going to have to change, and now.
One example is the burning of fossil fuels. It’s certainly clear that burning fossil fuels creates a lot of pollution. Pretty obvious. We’ve got quite used to “smog” around major cities. Rather than being just “smog”, it’s actually an obvious example of our ability to pollute. Do we think we can keep doing this and it will have no effect?
There are a lot of organisations now trying to blame the oil and gas companies for our air pollution problems, and insisting that they convert to renewables or go out of business. But it’s everyone of us that goes to the petrol station and expects that there will be fuel available to put into our car. It’s everyone of us that needs to keep our large homes warm in winter and burn fossil fuels to do that (I’m guilty!). Everything must change. We need to figure out very quickly, how we can do without fossil fuels. That’s a big step. How can we drive a lot less? How can we stay warm without fossil fuels? How can we live without flying so much? These are big issues that we need to sort out (with the help of scientists and our governments, of course), but we have to do so now. There’s no time to wait.
Another example is plastic pollution. We all see the horrors of plastic pollution all over the world these days, yet we generally still think it’s ok to go into a standard supermarket and come out with a trolley full of innumerable plastic items. Maybe we don’t think this is really ok, but we can’t see a way around it at the moment. This is an example where everything must change, and now.
It is within our power to buy simple fruits and vegetables without plastic, from a farm shop for example, and to cook meals at home. No plastic involved. But, it would be more inconvenient than getting that ready made stuff from the supermarket, which not only contains plastic but also took more energy to create and ship and has additional chemicals included to make it look better and last longer. It’s less convenient to cook simple meals from simple ingredients (it would be much cheaper and healthier!), but we have to let go of convenience if we want things to really improve. Everything must change.
Another example is the consumption of animal products coming from high-density, industrial animal farming. This is a real problem for the world. Apart from the disdain and cruelty we show to these animals, in order to farm so many animals we have to clear a lot of woodlands to house them and to grow the feed that they need to eat. It’s very inefficient and the Earth is struggling to deal with it. The simple solution is to stop or severely reduce our consumption of these products. We don’t need them – maybe we like them – but we don’t need them. Imagine how relieved the Earth would be if the whole human population became vegetarian today?
How about beverages? Do we need anything more that water? Of course not, but we certainly like other beverages. Once again, we have to clear lots of woodlands to grow the ingredients for many of our beverage preferences, build factories to convert these to the required fluid, put them in glass or plastic and then ship them all around the world to make the most sales possible. Oh, and don’t forget, these also have to be advertised on as many forms of media as possible to brainwash us into buying more and more of them. What a huge burden on the world when simply drinking water would provide everything we need. Once again, everything must change.
Focusing on money is another problem. In the end, when the Earth is unable to produce any more fruits, money will be worthless. Actually, in truth, it’s worthless now but we assign it with some artificial value. It’s amazing we see that money is very important. What’s truly important is friendliness, companionship and peace. We need to value these way more than money and we have to do that right now.
Everything must change – some ideas
Here are some of the ideas that I’m trying to follow to achieve “Everything must change”;
- Taking public transport to work from time to time. This is more expensive, takes longer, but it’s important. How often can I leave the car at home and reduce pollution?
- Avoid flying whenever possible
- Avoiding any food that has any plastic wrapping or container. This is sort of fun in a strange way because it’s so hard. But then again, it’s easy. Just buy fruits and vegetables without plastic and make some lovely salads and vegetable hot pots.
- Completely boycott any water that comes in plastic bottles. Extend that to any beverage that comes in plastic.
- We need to avoid all plastics until the all plastics used are completely and easily compostable.
- Avoiding all meat and animal products unless we know its origin and how the animal was treated. I once heard someone say we shouldn’t eat any meat unless we actually had met the animal when it was alive and knew its name.
Of course, there are unlimited other ways that things must change. I’m interested to hear your ideas.
The need for compassion and respect
If we can change everything, then there will be a lot of people whose livelihoods are seriously affected. The global human population must act as a true community and help these people through these situations. We can’t leave anyone to suffer a difficult plight – would we like it if everyone left us to struggle badly and nobody cared? If we all pull together, nobody has to suffer and we can all succeed. Unfortunately, a lot of today’s ideology and politics implies that it’s important to grab as much as we can before others can get it. This is no way to have a sustainable future. The only way the human population can have a future is together, as one, and as one with the natural world too.
Please remember that everything must change if we want to change the path the world is on. What can you change immediately? Do it. What can you change tomorrow? Next week? Next Month? Plan for that. It’s the only way.
The world isn’t going to change if we don’t.
The title of this article is a little provocative. It’s actually not true that “Everything must change” because our world has a lot of good in it as well. The concern, compassion and respect that we see people offer to other humans and to the natural world is extremely commendable and this certainly doesn’t have to change – we need more of it! In the past few decades, scientists have begun to understand the implications of the way we’ve been living and our unflinching desire to honour money above all else, and it’s great to see more and more people activating themselves to change this. We need to keep this progress moving and build on it quickly. In short, the world is where we can find love and we must keep this, nurture it and help it to grow. That’s all the world is for.
Related Links – Everything must change
- Why and how to use your career to end factory farming – an article from 80000hours.org
- Industrial farming – the approach is just wrong
- Is “cheap” the right direction?
- The Story of Stuff
- A world where having less is cool
- Anti-Consumerism – is it time for a new direction?
- Elegant Simplicity – The Art of Living Well