Being good is what makes the world go round. Not only being good, but being “altruistic”, which is taking “being good” to the next level and actually doing something about it. You’re being altruistic every time you donate to a food pantry, shovel your neighbor’s driveway, or listen to someone in need. These acts “on the surface” show what’s going on in your heart – and that’s the type of heart we need to save the world. Here’s why.
When you’re altruistic, you’re thinking of other people instead of only yourself. This goes against the grain of the capitalist world where everyone looks out for their own interests. When you hear see someone crying, your natural instinct might be to pity them and sit down and talk to them until they feel better. Why? Because you project yourself on them and remember what it felt like when you were upset, and how you would have liked to be treated. Thinking that way demands a degree of compassion, respect, and empathy.
This is the same respect that we should extend to the Earth. Whether you like it or not, life isn’t about you. It’s about tigers, sea lions, dolphins, Pacific Islanders, water, grass, and then you. All forms of life should get the same respect, and the way you live your life should not infringe on the way others live theirs. You shouldn’t produce that much pollution that the entire planetary climate changes. You shouldn’t consume what makes tropical rainforests disappear and rivers become polluted forever.
But we do. I do, too. The first step in changing that damaging lifestyle is recognition. It’s seeing how you, personally, are impacting the planet. It’s taking responsibility for it (“I produce a lot of trash!” or “I really pollute the environment with my car”). It’s accepting that responsibility. No matter how much you feel you can’t change it (“I need my car to go to work, or I wouldn’t survive in this world!”) you still need to accept that the responsibility is there, and it is yours. You are responsible for your actions, big and small.
The second step is to change your life decisions in ways so that you reduce your ecological footprint to be as small as possible. There are some actions listed in this blog, but there are hundreds of ways you can personally tailor your life so you can accomodate your needs without affecting the environment’s needs.
And a third step (there really is no order to these steps) is to extend that courtesy to others. You’re interested in saving the world, and that’s something nice – so be nice. Make that niceness be present in your heart, wherever you go, because we need nice-thinking humans to change the world. Be courteous to others. Go the extra mile to prove your compassion for the world by treating your fellow humans with kindness and respect. They too will feel kindness in their hearts and retribute it in their own ways, and the world gains by that.
Global warming and climate change exist because everyone started looking out for their own interests without caring about others.
It makes sense that in order to change that, we have to act on the contrary, by being kind and respectful to everyone.
So the answer to fixing climate change really lies in these two words: be kind.