A couple of weeks ago I met a wonderful, brilliant, soft-spoken, powerful man: Sailesh Rao. We were both leading workshops simultaneously at the Voyager’s Peace Conference, and as luck would have it, another speaker scheduled to present that day cancelled at the last minute. Because there was an empty slot, Sailesh repeated his presentation, and I was able to hear him. I was captivated by this man, who had spent his career as a high-powered computer engineer and who, after learning about global warming, became committed to teaching about and promoting solutions through the organization he founded, Climate Healers.
Sailesh and I had some time to talk and connect, and we agreed to give each other a copy of our respective books. I’ve been devouring his book Carbon Dharma: The Occupation of Butterflies, and I wanted to share some sections in this and other blog posts. He says:
“Here’s what’s amazing: the greatest story to ever unfold on the planet, our imminent march over a cliff following an invisible Pied Piper, is playing out in slow motion while the mainstream media seems to be strangely apathetic, especially in the United States. As if it has also been drugged into a state of stupor.”
How often I have thought the same thing. How is it possible that in the midst of grave problems and looming catastrophes the media can be focusing on Tom Cruise’s marital problems and child custody issues? I recently met with a group of students from the University of Richmond and asked them to list what they considered the biggest problems in the world. One of the issues that came up was the absurdity of the mainstream media’s focus.
What is OUR responsibility in relation to this strange paradox of our time? I believe it’s our obligation to contact those media we follow and ask them to cover the issues that truly matter and to promulgate the important information of our time. We can also eschew what is petty, gossipy, and unimportant, and commit ourselves to be purveyors of what is of meaning, value, and importance for generations to come.
It is our job to ensure that we do not personally fall into a state of drugged stupor, no easy task in a culture that constantly feeds us messages of instant gratification, the pursuit of happiness through materialism, and satisfaction of our immediate desires over our true yearnings for joy, health, peace, and kindness. But we can be vigilant and diligent in our efforts. The world and all the species on Earth depend upon those of us committed to solving the challenges ahead.
Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDxConejo talk: “Solutionaries”
My TEDxDirigo talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach“
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Filed under: humane education, MOGO (Most Good) Tagged: | activism, apathy, changemakers, climate change, critical thinking, Cultural Issues, global warming, humane education, mainstream media, mindfulness, responsibility, systemic change