Sunday, March 3, 2019

Rubbernecking the world in decline

Following the news these days, especially after a truly tragic week, is like witnessing a fatal car accident. You are horrified to see it happening but you are helpless to look away.

Watching Meet the Press this morning, I felt a fluttering in my chest that was more than too much coffee. It was an adrenal fight-or-flight response. Should I stop reading the newspapers and watching the news in order to preserve my mental health? Or should I get more involved in political activism and defending the common good?

When I started this blog in 2005, my dream was to sail around the world. Now that seems hopelessly naïve. There are too many countries along the way that would be seriously dangerous to visit. Much of the world is in turmoil, and it will only get worse as the population continues to grow and the effects of climate change become more prevalent.

What to do? Scale back the dream, first of all. Try to lessen my personal impact and contribute to causes that promote positive change. But understand that my efforts are, to use an expression I just heard, like a fart on a garbage ship—not that significant. As I recently read, individual efforts will not slow climate change. Only legislative action, in the form of stringent emission restrictions and alternative energy promotion, will accomplish anything. And that action will need to be worldwide.

Fat chance. The countries of the world are embroiled in their people’s everyday struggles—trying to secure a decent life for their families, or are enriching the few over the needs of the many. The big picture, what is happening to the world and what the future will bring, is a distant concern.

I am helpless to look away.


Nancy Louise said...

I know this was written several years ago. I came across your blog because I was trying to find the meaning behind John Denver's "Whispering Jesse" song. I read what seems to be your most recent blog from 2019 by the above title. I would be most interested to know if your views have changed? The virus right now, as terrible as it has been, frankly I think it is a way that Earth is slapping us in the face that weather disasters have never been able to. Mostly because for many people when it happens, 'it's over there'. For those that live through it, 'we are alone!' aka Porta Rico. But now, it is personal, or at least it seems. This might be a good thing. Suddenly the color of our skin, the language of our tongues or hands (I am Deaf so I sign), the education or status, means little. While it might seem like a nightmare, and it is, I also see a painful way that might finally slap some sense in all of us worldwide.

Nancy a fellow writer.

John Lichty said...

Thank you for your comments, Nancy. If anything, my views now are even more negative than they were last year when I wrote this blog post. Since then, Hurricane Dorian destroyed the northern Bahamas and the coronavirus has taken many lives. My wife and I are isolated at home amid the nationwide shutdown and don't expect to resume a somewhat normal life for several months. I was supposed to join a sailing flotilla to the Exumas but it was postponed indefinitely, and predictions for the coming hurricane season are not optimistic. May we all learn the painful lessons from this moment in history. Stay safe!