What Can I Do? by Marie T. Russell

February 25, 2007 at 9:13 pm Leave a comment

When one looks at all the things that “need fixing” on the planet, one could very well feel overwhelmed. Where does one start? And can one person make a difference?

The answer to that question is an unequivocal “Yes.” You and I can make a difference and the place to start is with ourselves. It is all very wonderful to petition, rally, and to preach to others about what they need to do to help save the earth… but changes begin at home. I find it hard to follow the advice of one who does not seem to practice what they preach. For example, would you feel that a person who weighs 350 pounds could really tell you how to lose weight? My question would be, “How is it you are not slim if your method works?”

In the same fashion, if we talk about saving the earth, we need to look first at our personal lives and see where our actions need revamping. This point was shown to me rather dramatically on Earth Day. One table had literature on recycling and not wasting paper… Yet, that table had so much paper strewn about on the floor around it, that it rather made a point about littering… Do we practice what we preach?

We talk about peace… Are we at peace with ourselves, our family, our neighbors, our co-workers? How can we talk about planetary peace and harmony, if we have not even attained it in our own life? If we cannot be an example of one person living peace within and without, how can we expect whole nations and governments to do so?

If we are using toxic chemicals in our homes, and using products made of Styrofoam, plastic, petroleum, etc., how can we expect industry to stop manufacturing them? It boils down to the old adage: “Practice what you preach!” And practice what you profess to believe and desire.

Are you cutting down on your use of non-recyclable products? Are you taking your bottles, aluminum cans, newspapers to be recycled? Are you practicing peace in your day to day life? Are you forgiving those whose actions offended you? Are you conscious about not polluting, either physically or with your thoughts?

So where do we begin? I begin with me, and you begin with you. The task at hand is not to change “the others” — it is to change ourselves and thus become a shining example that others will wish to follow. By our actions we can be a guiding light and a source of inspiration.

Start a recycling bin at your office…Don’t force it down anyone’s throat, simply start using it and let others know that it is available for their use also. We cannot get others to change by using force or guilt. People will only change when they truly desire it themselves. Don’t try to change the world. Work on changing yourself and the world will change with you.

What is needed is a change of consciousness on the part of each and every one of us — the human inhabitants of Earth. We must become clear on our intent. Do we plan to keep on using and abusing the Earth, or do we commit to make major changes so that the Earth and all on it can heal and return to a more natural and harmonious way of life?

Some of the changes will be slow, others can be more immediate. For example, we can start immediately wasting less gas and creating less pollution by using public transportation or organizing carpools. But this is only a short-term solution. The long-term solution is to build means of transportation that use solar power or some other form of renewable nonpolluting energy.

We can cut back right now on our use and waste of paper products. That again is only part of the solution. What we need to do is start the cultivation of plants that grow quickly, can be used for paper production, and be turned into compost when discarded. Science has the necessary information as to what plants are suitable.

One of the best plants for the production of paper, as well as clothing, is hemp. Now as you all know, hemp has been caught up for years in a legal dispute. It’s time to take a closer look at that issue. Papyrus is another possible source of paper. And there are more. This information is available and can be put into practice now. All we need to do is make our desires known and take the actions necessary to implement our choices.

We need to reexamine every aspect of our lives and see how we are hurting the planet and what we can do about it, both short-term and long term. We need to advocate the government’s use of our tax dollars for research into replacing methods that are damaging the ecosystem. We need to insist on our tax dollars going to healing the planet, instead of space exploration or the war program.

It is important that we join with all the peoples of the world in a common front. No one is our enemy. We are our own enemy. We have fouled our own nest. Let us join hands with people the world over and see how we can repair the harm we have done. It is time to admit our failures and take the necessary steps to correct them.

So the first step for each one of us is to make a personal commitment to Life and Peace on Earth, not only human life but for all forms of life — vegetable, animal, mineral, and spirit. Then the next step is to take actions, day by day, that will put that commitment into reality.

This article is reproduced courtesy of and copyrighted by Marie T. Russell.

Marie T. Russell is the publisher of InnerSelf Magazine and The Natural Yellow Pages. She produced a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being.. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity. Marie can be reached at marie@innerself.comwith personal comments or feedback.

Read more of Marie’s articles at her website www.innerself.com
A fabulous resource of articles on health, spirituality, relationships, parenting, creating realities and sexuality. (US)

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Entry filed under: Earth.

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