Migrants fleeing war, prosecution and famine, lack of access to basic human needs such as clean drinking water, food, shelter, work and uncontaminated environment, climate change that is fucking up this planet along with all the entire cocktail of various pollution, loss of ecosystems, habitats and natural environments; the list of everything that is going wrong with the world is never ending.
As a person, I have always been aware of these issues and felt it my duty as a human being to keep these in mind as I went about my daily life. Yet, no matter how mindful I am of my own actions, I know that there are 100 other people who don’t care and are contributing to the problem. And still, there are other entities doing their bit to bring about a positive change.
These are just 5 major international organizations that come to mind when we think of those trying to create a positive impact on humanity and this planet. There are countless others across all levels that are doing their bit to address the problems. Yet what really strikes me is that despite the work of so many organization, how is it that we are still going in a downward spiral?
The biggest problem that I could identify is the direct impact of human consumption and inequality in this consumption of resources.
Here is a list of the biggest atmospheric polluters in the world.
Here is how Africa is being stripped off its wealth through unregulated and illegal practices.
Here you will discover the flaw in the plans of IMF and World Bank to help developing and underdeveloped economies.
Finally, this article presents a good and contained perspective on consumerism.
No one is against consumption. We call have to consume. By consuming we sustain ourselves and are able to do more, to live out more experiences. To be able to consume, we need money. The general consensus goes that if we make more money we will be more happy.
However, happiness indexes have not increased with the increase in household incomes.
We’ve created technologies to solve world’s problems. Yet, technology has failed to reduce anxiety and make time available to us by helping us become available all the time and fracturing our dopamine circuits. The amount of electronic waste produced is mind boggling- it is stressful just to think about it.
This culture of consumerism has directly given rise to the kind of digital economies and industries we see today. Most of the highest paying jobs are in business verticals of marketing, administration, analytics and such. Yet, there is a sense of unsatisfaction with these jobs. To contribute to something greater than yourself is a core part of human happiness, and this just does not come from jobs that do not give an indication of the impact you are having on this planet.
A lot of people think that to be monetarily sufficient and make a difference you have to get a soul sucking corporate job, but that could not be further away from the truth. The UN for one, plays surprisingly well if you can manage to get into it, navigating the complex nature of its administration and functioning befit of its massive reach.
The UN is the most visible body doing humanitarian and environmental work, addressing every issue that has a significant impact of a large group of people. The efforts of the UN have been commendable and UN has done much to foster peace and security for many peoples across the globe. However, there are some critics who rightfully point out that the UN was unable to step up when it was needed the most. The Rwandan Genocide is a prime example.
What one must remember is that the UN is a body of representatives of many countries, where the most crucial decisions are subjected to scrutiny by the veto powers. If there is something that goes against a veto power’s national interest, the resolution will get vetoed. Politics governs the international game and will always do so.
Thus, even a seemingly charismatic organization like the UN has its weaknesses.
Thus, in the midst of all of this chaos, uncertainty, ineffective leadership plagued by bureaucracy and deteriorating conditions, must we resign ourselves to fate?
I don’t think so.
We are in charge of your happiness and our own empowerment to a large extent. We have to do what we must while being mindful that there is a larger world out there, where people are destroying, helping, creating and doing what they can to make sense of all of this. The world was never black and white, and it will only become more colorful with time.
An idea, philosophy, organization, life goal, way of life- subscribe to something and anything that will help you address the things you are most passionate about. Be prepared to have people support you as well as criticize you, because people will always subscribe to different things. Discord will be ever present. But subscribing to something will give you a path to walk through the shadow of confusion that’s cast on our present and our future.