Y’all. We are failing to take care of one another and our environment. We don’t stay home when we should, drive too much, machine dry our clothes when they could hang to dry, and hoard resources.
I’ve been wracked with guilt. For the past five-ish years, I’ve been thinking a lot about my role in our world. I haven’t come to any definite conclusions besides these two: one, do as much good as possible and two, love is the answer most of the time.
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”John Wesley
This quote guides me a lot in what I try to do. Although, I am FAR from perfect, I’m trying. I think I have a lot of really bad habits. For example, I feel the need to buy things to remedy ~unsavory~ feelings. I participate and buy into the pervasive and insidious consumerist culture of highly developed economies.
I frequently think of the Hunger Games, a series I read in eighth grade, so about four years ago. Katniss, the protagonist from an impoverished family, is both interested by and detests the opulence of the Capitol. She is furious that these people in the Capitol had so much, yet decided to give so little. That’s us. WE’RE THE CAPITOL.
If you’re like “Wait, Marie, what’s happening here?? We went from not being good enough humans to the Hunger Games and now we’re characters from the Hunger Games. WTF is happening?”, I will explain. We are the Capitol because we live ridiculously opulent lives and we aren’t caring for the poorest among us well enough. I have computers, phones, two homes, a car, and so much more. I go on vacations and buy $6 drinks from Starbucks. I don’t live modestly. But the money I spend on clothes I frankly don’t need or on fancy caffeinated drinks could be better used by donating to *reputable* charities. We are the people with everything and we’re ignoring those in need.
How can we have so much yet give so little?
How is it not unconscionable to have so much and give so little? I would argue it is. How can I ask for yet another cashmere sweater or item of Japanese stationery when people are dying of starvation because they can’t afford to eat or there’s no food to eat. It’s just not right. I can’t keep asking, buying, and taking more when many don’t have anything at all.
There are parents who can’t feed their children, and I’m doing what, complaining about Parks and Rec being taken off of Netflix?!?! It’s insanity. We should all be ashamed of ourselves. We’re not taking good care of our fellow human beings.
We cannot go on like this.
That being said, here’s what I’m changing about myself.
I’m going to stop asking for shit I don’t need. This works on multiple levels: one, I have less clutter (not important in the grand scheme of things, but it does increase my quality of life); two, I can instead ask people to donate to a charity instead of presents; three, it’s better for the environment – the less consumed, shipped, and produced, the better.
I am going to donate more to charity.
I think about this simply.
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”Matthew 7:12 ESV
If I were a starving child in the US, Malawi, Laos, Hungary, wherever, I would want someone to help me. If you were starving, how would you feel if you knew there were people who had everything they could possibly need and still didn’t give to you, a person who is starving to death. Won’t you be angry? I would be. I’d be pissed.
We should all be pissed with ourselves. Our current behavior is unacceptable. We have to do better even if it is inconveniencing. We have to treat others the way we want to be treated. If you needed help, you’d want someone to help you.
It’s time to help others.