This post was submitted for the United Nations World Environment Day blogging competition sponsored by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Please “Like” it on Facebook or Tweet using the hashtag #WED2012.
This story, our story, is like a dream where we dream we are falling– falling into a climate that is spinning out of control, falling into an economic crisis that has left millions impoverished, falling into dependence on a dwindling energy supply that is largely in the hands of those we don’t trust. The only thing that can save us from this “bad dream,” is for us to awaken in time. But we must all awaken together for it to work. And the thing that we must do when we all awaken together, to save ourselves, is to embrace the Green Economy.
Our world today could be the subject of an exciting, action-packed thriller. As we sit at the edge of our seats, watching our planet go hurtling towards the brink of disaster, we wonder if the hero will arrive in time. Except the hero, this time, is us.
It is us, as consumers, employees, business owners, citizens, planners, leaders, committee members, writers, investors, dreamers, neighbors, artists, parents, teachers, musicians, homeowners, commuters, students, vacationers, family members and friends– and the choices that we all make every day that will determine whether the Green Economy will get off the ground and pull us out of this nose dive in time.
The Green Economy is people deciding to walk rather than drive to work, to buy local food and a more fuel-efficient car. It is business owners choosing to fill their inventories from sustainable sources and manufacturers choosing to dispose of their waste products responsibly. It is politicians making the hard choices that favor the long term interests of future generations over the immediate wishes of lobbyists. It is people purchasing renewable energy and voting to allow wind turbines on neighboring ridge tops, even if they don’t like the way they look.
It is all of us realizing that while our imaginations are limitless, so too can be our appetites. The planet that sustains us, abundant as it is, has limited resources that we will deplete if we continue to consume them faster than they can regenerate. We need to take that awareness as our guiding principle, as we move gracefully towards an emergent goal of quality, rather than quantity, of prosperity redefined as an abundance of connection rather than accumulation, in the direction of the limitlessness of our imaginations rather than our appetites. The Green Economy can be rich and full and delicious and fun, as long as we keep in mind the fact that we are, all of us, traveling on a great big Spaceship Earth that is subject to laws of nature that must be respected and obeyed.
What makes this a truly extraordinary and historic moment in time, is that if we do this, it will be the first time in history that the entire human population aligned itself to a single purpose.
Imagine for a minute, the world under the ocean, with myriads of fish and sea creatures of all kinds, all doing their own thing as individuals or small groups, pursuing their own life purposes. This is pretty much what the human world has been like, with millions of people not even aligned with their own communities, never mind their country, or their country with other countries.
Now imagine all those fish suddenly consolidating into one enormous school, swimming together, turning together as one, even if just for a few minutes. Imagine the power of that.
That could be an analogy for what is in the process of happening right here, right now in our world. People, from all walks of life, speaking all different languages, are suddenly aligning their actions towards the same single goal of preserving our planet as a safe and comfortable place for future generations to live. In the end, all of us want the same thing. Let’s make it happen.
[Image credit: elycefeliz:Flickr Creative Commons]
RP Siegel, PE, is the President of Rain Mountain LLC. He is also the co-author of the eco-thriller Vapor Trails, the first in a series covering the human side of various sustainability issues including energy, food, and water. Now available on Kindle.
Follow RP Siegel on Twitter.