We are faced with thousands of them every day of our lives.
We have to make choices that seem overwhelming, and change the trajectory of our lives; changing jobs, getting married, having children, moving cities or countries, buying a car or a house, choosing a university…
There are also seemingly insignificant decisions to be made every moment: Coffee or tea? Salad or burger? Left or right? Do I join in the negative gossip about a friend or co-worker, defend them or just walk away? Do I smile or do I frown at that homeless lady as I walk past? Do I let this guy in during the rush-hour grind or do I squeeze him out? Do I yell at my kid for faffing about while we are running late before school and work run or do I hug them and accept that I too, am a faffer, and sometimes we are just going to be a bit late? Do I buy that shiny product I don’t actually need or want, or do I save my pennies for something I enjoy more like travel or going out with people I Love?
I don’t think anything is insignificant. And knowing that I am in total control of the decisions I make, including how I choose to deal with external forces that I have no control over makes me feel like a flipping superhero. The trick is realising that even though things happen that we can’t directly control, we can control how we deal with them.
Do you remember that leading sequence in Trainspotting? Brilliant and wrenching movie, and something as grave as heroin addiction does actually come down to choices.
EVERYTHING comes down to choices.
Someone I respect and admire very much indeed posted a terrible photo article about the severity of pollution in China.
And I realised yet again, that I have a choice. And I chose to COMPLETELY change the previously unfinished second half of this blog.
It reminded me about our choices. We can turn away. Or we can consciously decide that we’re ready to do something.
Sometimes I choose to turn away. That’s a choice we all have to make for our own self-preservation sometimes. News of babies or children being hurt or killed at the hands of people who are meant to protect them gets muted because my heart can’t handle it. The channel gets changed, the articles go unread. I support and admire the people I know, and causes who work tirelessly to address issues of domestic violence and poverty in this country. One day I’d like to start a charity to empower women, as that seems like it would be an effective way of healing households and addressing domestic violence, poverty and other social issues. Strong women with self-esteems make excellent choices for themselves and their family and partner and communities at large. True story. But I choose to be smarter, stronger and more prepared before embarking on that journey. I am not ready, and I do not know enough to be useful or do a good job yet. I’ll know when I’m ready. Maybe.
The planet choking is not something I can’t put on hold until I have the time and resources to do something about it. Because, the planet is where I live, breath, eat and drink every single day, and all the other social responsibility campaigning is null and void if we have choked ourselves to death and have nothing left to sustain us.
So the choice to make millions, or rather trillions of small changes lies in each and every human’s hands and hearts.
And if we all stood together, we would slow or reverse the damage we have done. We really, REALLY would.
Plant something. Waste a little less. Pick up your towels and reuse them more than once (I am the WORST for this and go through a mind-numbing amount of laundry every week). Car pool. Grow some food. Get some chickens. Consider your purchases and opt for ecologically sound FMCG (kind of an oxy-moron, but every little bit helps). Support environmental sustainability initiatives that you believe in. Vote to put the planet first. Get excited about green-tech and innovations that mean cheaper, cleaner and more accessible energy for everyone, because we have the technology and the smarts to design and benefit from solar, wind, hydro and electric energies that are not only kinder to the environment, but also very sexy indeed.
We can choose to be defeated and think that the planet is already broken and it isn’t our problem, or we can choose to fight for the plants and animals that we should be protecting. We can also choose to turn away.
The choice is ours.
What are you going to choose?