Tipping Points, Nature-induced, have been intermittent visitors to this planet for some 4.5 billion years; but the fearful one now assaulting us is Human-induced and, ever more frequently, solicits the question “What can I do?” from those born to caring parents who were able to provide comfortable life styles and educational opportunities that led to a continuance of the comfort. Admittedly, too many of these fortunate ones take this as a birth right so never think to raise this question, but a growing number do feel deep concern and responsibility.
It is apparent that the old adage is true: “Nature in the raw is seldom mild”. Among other life forms, humans have evolved to not only cope with Nature but to bend it to serve humanity, but the portions served bear little resemblance to Equality due to human indifference to fellow humans. Like Nature, humans in the raw can be far from mild. Common folk, like you and me, see a bewildering array of human-induced problems such as:
1. Population growth that not only exhausts resources but also lacks the tender, loving care so vital to developing Brains throughout the long formative years.
2. Climate Change aggravated by clinging to old technologies in spite of new and safer ones.
3. Piles of money buying our democracy to enhance special interests.
4. Police brutality and inhumane prison systems, plus UN troops abusing people they were sent to save.
5. Misuse of religions to justify crimes.
6. Large numbers of humans in all countries exploiting other humans.
7. Conflicts, human trafficking, and misuse of our fragile environment.
8. Migrations - fleeing persecution, poverty, and climate. Today there are over 50 million refugees.
9. 874 armed US Hate Groups + 44,000 bikers in 3,000 gangs killing 200 in Quebec, Scandinavia, and Texas.
Too many, even realizing the enormity of this sample, continue selfish life styles claiming there is nothing they can do about it, so grab what they can while they can. Others, who are concerned, do nothing because they believe their input would be too tiny to make a difference. This is where hopelessness, fear, disillusionment, and the like take root and flourish. Can we ever command enough boots of the ground to save the minds our future needs?
It behooves all of us, Agnostics to Zoroastrians to be brave enough to face the facts that our best minds have uncovered: Nature and the Universe do not care about us. We obey their laws. None of us was asked “Would you like a tour of duty as a Human, a Salamander, or a virus?" None of us has evolved to create, or know anything about, an afterlife, yet worldwide there is a human sense of Self, Dignity, Purpose, and Noble Pursuits. How do we harness this to eliminate Greed and Harm to Others? Life may be a Hologram or a joke and the joke may be on us but that is no excuse for not using our limited freedoms to make this a better place because we were here.
Pause for a moment to consider how individuals have sparked countless movements both good and bad, how mind sets can be created and changed, how violence begets violence and good deeds beget good deeds.
Now, we know not whether our expanding universe has a purpose. We do know it is controlled by laws but know not how or who created the laws. We humans are quite good at making our own laws and establishing mindsets of which there have been numerous recent changes.
In the desire to better Life most of us are confined to influencing acquaintances and to contributing to the numerous individuals and organizations who are physically in the fields where help is needed. It makes sense to ferret out those that devote the least portion of donations to administration, publicity, fund raising, and conferences and who use our money where it does the best good. We also need to encourage co-operation among organizations to avoid duplication and waste and to cover as many areas as possible. There are over 1.2 million charitable organizations in the US alone. In the Muslim world, most, and in the Western world, many, such organizations restrict donations to members of their own faith. But we do have a choice of scores of international donors who serve wherever the need exists. A few of these are: Amnesty International, ColaLife, Doctors Without Borders, Engineers Without Borders, Goodwill Industries, Greenpeace, Oxfam, Nature Conservatory, Rotary International, SHARE, Union of Concerned Scientists, UNICEF, and Wheelchair Foundation. Even here there is dissent as some argue that when groups get too large they concentrate more on fund raising than on good deeds. Even Greenpeace with 2,400 staff, 3 ships, and 15,000 volunteers is criticized for going after soft targets rather than the hard ones like China, yet 30 crew of its Arctic Sunrise ship were imprisoned for 3 months for harassing Russian arctic oil drilling.
Now, whether in the long run it matters or not, care for our environment and other living things does enhance human dignity and pride - and it imparts a personal glow of satisfaction. Go for it!