Room for One More?

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Old Asian woman working in cascade

I was curious as to how many people are currently sharing our beautiful planet, so I googled it. Our world population has now reached a little over 7.3 billion people and continues to grow quickly. If you would like to see just how quickly, check out the link at the end of my blog. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a lot of people sharing one space.

The majority of us will never meet. However, I like to consider all of us as neighbors. And, like all good neighbors, we need to get along. A nice sentiment, but what does it mean exactly? Does it mean that we need to get along with 7.3 billion other people. Yes it does.

You may or may not wonder how we can practice good neighborship with someone who lives on the other side of our planet. It comes down to respect. If you’ve read my previous blog, you know that respect is important to me. In this case I’m referring to respect for each other, for our shared space, and Mother Earth.

We’re all in this together. This being the lives in which we actively participate, including our mistakes and successes. This being our daily experiences from the mundane to the extraordinary. This being our fears and aspirations. This being our failed dreams, broken hearts and hope which inspires our futures. Regardless of profession, income or educational level, this is true for everyone.

Things like job titles, salaries, accreditation create divisions between us in terms of affluence and lifestyle. While these divisions can be seen and felt, they are superficial, masking a fundamental truth. We are all human beings. No more, no less.

Our humanity, our common struggle and desire to exist make us equal. We need to remember that which unites us and forget the things we allow to divide us. This isn’t a new idea, and yet we continue to focus on our division, instead of our unity.

We need to accept that regardless of our superficial differences, we are all equal participants in a global community. Reason enough to respect each other, don’t you think?

Once we’re able to respect each other, our planetary neighbors, perhaps then, we can also accept that humanity is full of diversity, continuously shaping and painting our global mosaic in a multitude of beautiful colors. It’s time to celebrate that diversity. This is possible once mutual respect becomes intrinsic to our individual and global interactions.

We interact globally through the shared space of our planet. Mother Earth, who acts much the same as a den mother, is the greatest hostess I know. She is simultaneously providing for the basic and health needs of over 7 billion people, designating her as the queen of multitasking.

She provides us with food, shelter, water and medicine through her natural resources. Scientists are still discovering the wealth of our planet’s natural resources and their benefits. Needless to say, Mother Earth has thought of everything, making her a first-rate caregiver as well.

And, until proven otherwise, I don’t think the much debated phenomenon of global warming can be attributed to our hostess, but to her guests. Although Mother Earth is more than capable of providing for us, we need to cooperate with her. We need to stop being so egocentric, and realize that in addition to our shared humanity, we also have a shared responsibility.

As global neighbors, we need to care for our “den mother” as she cares for us. A mutually beneficial relationship based on our respect for her and each other. According to scientists, the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. So, I don’t think we need to worry about the permanence of our hostess, at least not for several more billion years. A more immediate concern would be her continued ability to provide for our well-being.

Respecting everyone’s right to have their needs met, whereby citizenship and neighborship are synonymous with global stewardship, we need to become more responsible about managing our planetary resources. There’s plenty to go around if we act responsibly. Problems arise when we take our abundant resources for granted, misuse and destroy them with no regard for the consequences. I’m not an environmental expert but I think that we’ve been very irresponsible up to now.

We’ve destroyed half of Earth’s trees since we’ve been here. That’s just one example of our irresponsibility. Either one of us could compile an entire list of examples. The consequences impact me, you and our neighbor on the other side of the planet. Again, I’m not an environmental expert, but at the rate we’re abusing our resources, we will eventually destroy Mother Earth’s ability to provide for us. We need to behave better as her guests. Something I think we can all agree upon. Another point of unity.

As usual, I don’t have any answers but I have faith in us. We exist in a constant state of change, learning as we go. Hopefully, we can learn from our mistakes. Time will let us know definitively. Until then, I’m optimistic.

While, as a species, we may still be experiencing growing pains, we will eventually learn to be good neighbors and stewards. It’s the only outcome that makes sense to me. We’re hard-wired to survive. We can’t survive without the resources so generously offered to us by our Earth Mother. We need to be better caretakers and learn how to share, guaranteeing that there is always room for one more.

My cup remains half full.

Child holding Earth planet with blue butterfly in hands against green spring background. Elements of this image furnished by NASA
                   

© 2015 Brenda Baker

Ena Vie – Earth Prayer

Click to see our population growing via the worldometer. Unfortunately, it does not work on mobile phones.

References

Drugs from Nature, Then and Now

Climate Debate Daily

Earth Lost Half Its Trees to Humans

6 comments on “Room for One More?”

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