“And you know that we are so interwoven in the web of life that even the smallest act, with clear intention, has repercussions through the whole web beyond your capacity to see. But that’s a little cool; maybe even a little abstract. You need the heat of the compassion – the interplay between compassion and wisdom.” http://newstoryhub.com/2017/09/joanna-macy-on-the-relevance-of-the-shambhala-warrior-prophecy-for-our-time/
Someone shared the Shambala Warrior Prophecy on Facebook and this part of it seemed to me to hold the key to all the world’s problems. When I look at the size of the ‘problems’, they seem so large that they produce a feeling of helplessness. But I’ve taken to asking- “What can I do?”- and waiting for the answer. It always comes. It might be making a donation, or buying a product to help a foundation; sometimes it is changing a habit (not buying any more water in plastic bottles, for example), others responding to a community request like the day I went to help a local team pick up cigarette butts around town.
Occasionally, it might be picking up somebody else’s dog poo (I always carry extra poo bags), or the empty bottles and plastic cups found on my walk to coffee and putting them in the bin. It is not much, but I think of ants: each one does its best, puts the effort it can into a small piece of the job and they build cities that marvel us (https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/ants-natures-secret-power/). Each bee brings but a small amount of honey back to the hive, but between them all they produce enough to feed the next generation of bees and a whole lot of human beings besides. And, if it is the bees you are worried about just type ‘how can I help save the bees’ into google and you’ll get a ton of ways (http://www.queenofthesun.com/get-involved/10-things-you-can-do-to-help-bees/).
So yes, I do believe that a small act has repercussions, that the beating of a butterfly’s wings on this side of the globe might cause a hurricane on the other side. I may never see these repercussions or even know of them, but today it fills my heart with hope to notice people doing small things to change what is ailing the planet or humanity and this shows me the way. I can’t clean up the ocean; I can’t even clean up Salies. But I can pick up one plastic bottle and put it in the recycling bin; I can pick up a piece of carton and put it in the paper bin.
And as far as cleaning the ocean, it seems that a 16 year old boy –Boyan Slat- came up with an idea that is actually being tested and is going to go into operation sometime next year (https://www.theoceancleanup.com/updates/). And then there is 4Ocean (https://4ocean.com/) which to date has removed 92,892 pounds of garbage from the ocean; if you donate, they send you a bracelet made from the plastic that has been removed. So the next time you are on the beach, why not pick up some trash and put it in a bin? Every piece you pick up is one more piece that won’t be washed away by the next high tide. And that is just the oceans.
Maybe it is air quality you worry about. Well type that into Google and up come a dozen or more things every single one of us can do to help. Will it actually make a difference if I walk or bike when everyone else is going in cars? I don’t know, but it is the contribution I can make and it feels good to make it. Good for my health too (https://sk.lung.ca/protect-your-lungs/air-quality/10-easy-steps-cleaner-air).
If you type “Save the rainforest” into Google, tons of associations working on just that are available for you to donate. Maybe it isn’t the rainforest, but just planting a tree in your garden is a contribution to the air we breathe. There is I Give Trees (Rainforest ECO, Enterprises https://rainforesteco.wordpress.com/about-us/) started by Alana Lea who –through crowdfunding campaigns- manages to buy organic trees from small rural associations in Brazil and give them back to the people who live in the degraded rainforest. It just takes one person with an idea.
Interested in helping children, type it into Google and lavish in all the possibilities (https://www.children.org/make-a-difference). I have been sponsoring two children (Lorena and Milton) through Khanimambo in Mozambique and get regular reports on their progress in school (https://fundacionkhanimambo.org/la-fundacion/) plus photos and information on the activities of the organization.
A drop in the bucket, but drop by drop, the bucket fills up. Every time I am confronted with information about the enormity of a problem we are facing, it is another opportunity to ask: “What can I do?” And there is always something. Yes, I would prefer to go off and work with Doctors without Borders, but I understand that, at my age, I would be more of a hindrance than a help, so I send money when I can, I pick up dog poo and plastic around Salies, I do The Work over Skype for free when someone can’t pay (it lessens suffering on this planet) and I serve in an association that provides food for families with low incomes in the Salies area. And, yes, I do it for me: it makes me feel good, it makes me feel useful; it feels like giving back something of all that life has given me. My friend, Carlos Nagel from Tucson, says it better: “Helping others is the rent I pay for my stay on Earth” appears at the bottom of every e-mail he sends.
But above all, I do my part by not adding more stress and worry to the world, torturing myself with problems I cannot solve. If the answer to my question (What can I do?) is “Nothing”. I figure it is not my problem and immediately stop worrying about it. If worrying solved anything the world would be paradise today.
So if you are worried about the state of our planet, our oceans, our rainforests or just the world in general, do something. You might think that your contribution is so small it won’t make a difference, but remember the ants and carry your fragment of leaf for the rest of the human colony (https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/ants-natures-secret-power/).