One person.

Here I sit, again, writing at my dining room table, with doors fully open, the smell of jasmine and roses, lavendar and rosemary gentlingin on the breeze.   I’ve just been reading news reports and emails regarding the oil well explosion tragically killing 11 workers and the resulting break in the pipeline that is decimating the Gulf of Mexico and the life in it.  How can we be on the same planet?  In my small world, I try to do good deeds, treat others kindly, be a good role model for my child, and earn an honest living.  My fruit trees, flowering garden and vegetable patch are a reflection of my desire to keep nature flourishing — at least in my home environment.  As I learn about new things (like the food chain as depicted in Food, Inc.), I embrace that knowledge and do my best to be even more of a responsible creature who has been given the opportunity to share life on this planet with all the other creatures here.  I’m one person.  So it makes me feel a bit overwhelmed and under-powered, to think that one person can change the planet. 

If you think about it, though, one person made the decision to build an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.  You can say that a Board of Directors at BP made the decision, but ultimately, one person put the idea out there and pushed it forward.  One person did something wrong in the construction that caused a weakness and ultimately an explosion.  Doesn’t matter who, for the sake of this argument — but it could have been an overtired worker, engineer, planner, who put or didn’t put, the wrong thingamajiggee in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Or didn’t adequately tighten a bolt.  Or who was smoking next to flammable materials.  Or who approved sub-standard materials in construction.  Who knows?  But it was likely one person who did one wrong thing that has killed a whole bunch of workers and now, untold amounts of marine and marine-dwelling life.

If a nuclear bomb went off, it would be one person who would be responsible for that decision.  In whatever country, at whatever time.  One person would say “go”, or one person would punch in a key code, or one person would turn a key, or one person would push a button, and our world would change forever. 

The earth will continue, even if we destroy it.  But human life and the creatures who live on earth could very well end.  Because of one person.

The general belief is that it takes less muscles to smile than to frown.  But according to one plastic surgeon, who looked at the basic muscle functions needed to create a smile and a frown, it takes 12 muscles to smile and 11 to frown.  One more muscle to go to good from not so good. 

Then, there is the myth of the 100th monkey (thanks to reader, Shelley, for passing that along yesterday), which was based on a real study of monkeys using water to wash sand from yams set out for them on a beach.  As one monkey washed sand off the yams, other monkeys followed suit.  Eventually all the food gatherers washed sand off their yams.  They didn’t achieve critical mass in that the behavior didn’t spread outside their small group, but the concept is heart-warming. 

I’m going to stick with the one more muscle to smile than frown theory, because as I look around my world, I seem to see more people frowning than smiling.  Just a little more effort might be needed to smile.  And as anyone who knows me knows…I’m a smiler.  I’m constantly using that extra muscle.  What if I apply that to the effort I might need to be the one person who adds to the critical mass to make the world a cleaner, healthier, better nutrified, more responsible and respectful place to be?  And what if you do that too?  Then we all add muscle to positive direction. 

My choices?  Shopping local — going to the Tapia Brothers farm down the street and to my local Farmers market.  To grow vegetables.  To compost and put my landfill back into the earth.  To eat grass-fed, free-range beef.  To purchase only free-range poultry and egg.  To avoid corn and soy fillers (and most preserved food).  To impact the multi-national businesses with my few dollars and cents.  To continue to walk 4-5 miles a day.  To be a creature of the planet.  To be kind to animals.  To give love to my child, my family and to humanity.  To be  mensch on this planet.  One person.

What’s your choice?

2 thoughts on “One person.

  1. Yes, each of us makes our individual decisions daily, and thereby we have an impact on the world.

    The worse environmental disaster perhaps EVER, certainly at least since Chernobyl, is currently proceeding in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The appropriate safety procedures that were in place to avoid this scenario were apparently deliberately avoided, with evidence that ONE person (from BP) over ruled someone else, in an argument that was observed by several rig personnel.

    Yes, we all make individual choices.

    Mostly, as individuals, we are all fairly intelligent (compared to a squirrel, (not being intentionally “funny” here, human beings in general are intelligent (as defined by human beings)).

    The result of all our individual decisions have huge and damaging outcomes.

    Individuals are intelligent, as a group we don’t act wisely.

    Sure, I drive a Prius. I live with my mother in a condo that only sucks up $50 or less per month of electricity. She drives a Smart car (and has put on less than 2000 miles in 4 months).

    However, the decision that I made with the greatest impact on the environment is not to have children. That’s the most anyone can do to reduce human impact on the world.

    While I too smile, I like to make others smile even more, since laughter is life’s lubrication (no petroleum involved!), as we face, as a group, extraordinarily hard decisions. The hardest decisions humans have ever needed to make.

    My two small ideas:
    1. Let’s change GAAP accounting rules to recognize the DAMAGE TO THE ENVIRONMENT, that various business practices produce.

    If we were paying the true cost of petroleum (instead of simply the extraction, refining and distribution costs, along with profit margin), we’d use a hell of a lot less energy, with far less impact on our future.

    2. Along the way, the definition and legal rule that allows corporations to be persons (with free speech rights!!!) before the law, must change, and the sooner the better.

    The likelihood of either of these “intelligent” but disruptive ideas to be implemented is astonishingly small.

    Sorry about the small portion of life’s lubrication in this reply, and thanks for pointing out that we all make choices, which taken as a group can have huge and positive impacts.

  2. Now, this is the heart of babyboomer blogging. Thanks for a blog post that EMPOWERS! Baby Boomer Bloggers can be true difference makers. I appreciate the diversity in our opinions. I also am convinced that the Re-Greening of our nation must be done! I choose to contribute to the cause.

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