An Open Letter to Those with Real Power
Dear Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Larry Ellison; Hollywood Heavyweights with back end points and a conscience; readily interviewed Sports Stars who donate money; Politicians who still believe in public service and Celebrities with hope,
I need your help. I feel as if I’m drowning in anxiety about the state of our society and I can no longer bury my head in the sand and pretend everything is fine. As a culture, an economy, even a planet we are so far from fine it’s devastating. We are in serious trouble and I’m beginning to feel hopeless about our abilities to do anything about it. I’m turning to you, those with power, with influence, with the ability to really facilitate change and I’m begging you to do something.
Let me preface by saying, although I am a worrier, I am ultimately an optimist who has never found herself strung out over conspiracy theories or spent any real time time riling against the atrocities of the world, of which there are many. I feel strongly about politics but for the most part keep my opinions to myself and send money and lend support to causes I believe in but don’t do a whole lot of preaching the word to others. I feel today, however, on World Health Day, that I must speak up about a worry that has recently left me terrified. I hope I’m wrong. I pray I’m wrong. My problem is, I don’t think I am.
Until now, I thought my biggest fear was dying of my terminal disease and leaving my child without a mother, but now I wonder if it shouldn’t be watching our beautiful world fall apart around us. I was devastated reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. It was such a bleak, hopeless depiction of our future. Humanity having botched everything so terribly there was no one left to help. The only reason I finished the book was because I was waiting for the redemption that never came. I put it away in horror, but looking at the way the world is unfolding, I wonder if my child isn’t looking at a future closer to Mr. McCarthy’s than what I ever imagined. I’m petrified of the direction in which we’re heading and I’m overwhelmed and discouraged that we, as a culture, have allowed things to get this far.
Perhaps history is just fated to repeat itself. I look at lost cultures like Rome, Greece and the Mayans and I think, are we next? Will anything worthwhile be able to even follow our demise or will our self-destruction, combined with our technology, be so absolute that we will, in fact, be the Omega. After reading (and confirming) the two new studies by NASA and the UN: NASA Study Concludes When Civilization Will End, And It’s not Looking Good for Us and UN Scientific Panel Releases Report Sounding Alarm on Climate Change Dangers, I wonder if my current fear of being buried under a burning pile of rubble in Los Angeles’s “Big One” isn’t merely trivial selfishness in the wake of “the end of our planet as we know it”. America (and the G8) should be leading the battle to save us and yet we seem all too easily distracted by personal gain, the fight for wealth and power and various celebrity mishigas to take any – behaviorally altering – notice of the real issues at hand. While we should be fighting to preserve, protect and improve what we have, using our wealth and influence for change and salvation, we’re killing the environment, dismantling the middle class, attacking women’s rights, vilifying America’s poor while making it easier for the wealthiest Americans to take advantage of the system, and turning politics into a cesspool of stagnant infighting, potentially corrupting the democratic voice with the endless fundraising one upmanship. Frankly it’s hard to know what’s really happening anymore because we all just watch the news we agree with.
And these are just issues on the home front. I’m not even touching on world issues like North Korea, Russia and the effects of the Crimea takeover, the potential nucular fallout still looming after Japan’s earthquake, Syria and the ongoing crisis of Middle East. I know “We Didn’t Start the Fire” but we sure as hell seem to be fanning it to epic proportions.
It seems all too possible that this ongoing selfish, inward looking behavior will ultimately only bring about our downfall. Scientists are screaming it. I believe it’s time the rest of us started listening.
When did we get this insular? This clueless? Why are we not more afraid? More outraged? More informed? Where is our connection as a people? Do we truly need an alien attack, a environmental catastrophe, a unstoppable viral outbreak or a 3rd, planet devastating, world war to reconnect? How bad do things need to become before we, as a people, stop apathetically ignoring the facts.
The time has come to get behind a singular agenda: The Salvation of the World as we Know It. I realize that sounds heavy handed but legitimate, respected scientists are seriously talking about a few decades left. That concept is unfathomable and yet, it remains a REAL possibility. “Decades Left” and we sit in our society of freely disseminated information choosing to talk about anything else. I understand the desire to ignore. Every day I pretend I’m not sick. I pretend I’m not dying. I believe this is something I’ve learned to do in order to survive, to not dissolve into a puddle of fear and sadness. I understand the impetus to bury your head. I just think we, as a culture, are doing it on too large a scale. We are pretending it’s all going to be okay, that we trust our leaders to not let us fall, to have confidence they have our best interests at heart. We are choosing to believe that everything will work out because the alternative is just too much to contemplate. It’s more desirable to hide in the fluff of the tabloids or in the “busy-ness” of our daily lives and focus our energy on fighting our waistline or crow’s feet rather then opening ourselves to the bigger and far more terrifying issues at hand.
It’s preferable to ignore but I believe that ignorance is going to kill us.
We need people like you to remind us of this fact.
Please, look into what I’m saying. Find the truth. Step up to your respective platforms and tell us what’s really going on so we can do something about it. We will listen to you. Your voices will resonate.
Major magazines and newspapers: Put a call to arms on your covers.
On-line sites, comedic news, major news stations: Come to a truthful conclusion of facts and forget the spin. Add “The Future of Humanity” to your agenda. Help us to help ourselves before there’s nothing left to discuss.
Forget your political leanings. Forget your bias. Forget your bottom line. Think of your children. Think of the future. I may not personally have one, but I sure as hell want to ensure Lochlan does.
The time has come.
Very powerful. Most politicians seem unable to do anything more than worry about their next vote so lets hope the smart, powerful people are listening and can help us get on track again
Leigh you are so right on. I have this same conversation with others and sometimes feel I am spinning in circles being the only person seeing what is happening around us. Why have people become so complacent??? Do they not care what is happening? I’m frightened every day for my children and their future. You worded this perfectly!! Great write up
Thoughts well expressed. We believe that things across the world are not getting any saner. If one is not already in a politically stressed country, just look around to the next 5 neighboring countries and one shall hit on grave issues, if not graver.
The solution at grass root is for people across the world to do good in their own special way & care for the next human being. At the top to have world functioning as one unit rather than small countries.
Ethiopian it is, but for humanity to exist we all need to be humane.
What gives me some hope is the upwelling of awareness that I see all around me. It’s a slow moving apocalypse, a Greek word for “unveiling”.
I’d like to add another thought. As a substitute teacher, I see hundreds of kids every month, and they all get it. I’ve even had kids ask me out of the blue if they have a future at all. Kids should not be the ones shouldering this worry. It’s our jobs as adults to look after kids and protect them from this kind of anxiety, yet they see the adults in their worlds doing nothing of substance about the problem. The time has come to act.
The more I have looked into this, the more I realize that we cannot do anything about true sustainability without addressing our nonsensical economic system that demands exponential growth to avoid widespread job loss and financial ruin for many. A solution is being tested and posed by economists around the world, including in the USA. It’s negative interest – a proven way to keep an economy working for everyone, even when it is static or declining. It also leads to the preservation of resources. If you’re interested, you can read more in my recent article: http://www.northsimcoenews.com/index.php/online-edition/77-april-may2014/1491-building-a-better-world-taming-the-economic-monster
I’m glad I am not the only one that thinks Globally. As bad as things seem the last 70 years have been the most peaceful ever. Imagine living during WW2. Makes our time look like a cakewalk. Sad to say but Nukes saved us. Mutually assured destruction is a good thing. Glad your writing about these things but don’t get lost in the misery. Hold your family tight.
Thank you Trevor. Not getting lost in the misery is good advice. xo