Being selfish will save the world!
I don’t have children. And at this point and time I have no plans to change that. And so when I read the articles about climate change and pollution, the likely extinction of many of our animal species and the possible social detriment of an over reliance on technology, I always feel a tad confused by the closing lines of ‘look at your kids and think about the world you want to leave them’.
I get it, it is a great motivator to think beyond my current ease and pleasure. And put time into changing the small daily habits that I can, to make the world a better place; like cutting down on the consumption of animal products, reducing, reusing and recycling and remembering to have computer free time.
But is the problem not more urgent then my children and the future generations that aren’t mine. We could be facing a mass extinction by 2020. By the same year there will most likely be more trash in the ocean then fish. There will be a surge in metal health issues as well as physical health problems caused by low activity and pollution.
Now assuming everything goes to plan I do still plan to be alive in 2020, I mean that’s only less then 4 years away. So unless I walk under a bus, which knowing me is a reasonably strong possibility, there is a pretty good chance I will survive to 2020. And this is not the world I would choose to live in. So are not these problems and urgent concern for me from the entirely selfish point of view that I kind of like breathing clean air.
Some of the predictions for 2020 are great; self-driving cars, increased renewable energy, legalization of marijuana as the life saving drug it is and Virtual Reality will become a major industry (although I’m not sure if the last is positive or negative, or like all things, both.)
So while I sit around at home playing music through my sound system via the Bluetooth in my phone and at the same time chatting with a friend on the other side of the world and looking up words in my phone for scrabble, I can marvel at this technology. And wonder what the next 4 years will hold, both great and terrifying.
But this future is not for my non-existent children it is for me. So it is time for the ‘selfie generation’ to capitalize on what others perceive to be our over developed self interest and think about what world we’d like to live in. This is a moment in which selfishness (often considered a negative) can be a great motivator against the destruction of our environment and towards demanding more from corporations and government a like.
And while we demand change from the slow moving entity known as ‘the powers that be’; let us instead start with ourselves and turn off the light we don’t need, remember our reusable bags and perhaps stop buying quite so many clothes that we only wear for a few months before with through them out. Let’s be conscious consumers, and not just by researching our product to make sure we are getting a good long lasting item that is environmentally the lesser evil. But let’s also be conscious of when we don’t need to consume because we don’t necessarily need the latest and greatest item to get the job done. Bring back the ‘make do and mend’ philosophy and learn from those who during war time felt the true scarcity of the resources of this world and balanced not just needs against wants but also needs against the truer needs.
We all know that altruism is in many ways considered a selfish act anyway. And it’s time to realize that being selfish or to be more accurate; caring if you live or die and about the journey in between, is a weapon we can use to change the world, because the future is not just for our theoretical children but us as well.
The top ten things to change today:
Start carrying a water bottle or reusable coffee cup (depending on your preferred poison) and stop that scourge that is plastics. Get a cool one if you want but get ready to be permanently attached to the thing.
Shop second hand, embrace the vintage style and try and see how many things you can buy not new. Compete with your friends to see who can go the longest without buying something brand new.
Say no to plastic, and not just the carry bags, but the ones that you put your veggies in as well.
While you’re at it, stop buying packaged food. Not only will the world thank you, but so will your body. Hit up those fresh fruits and veggies.
And start brown bagging that healthy lunch every day. Take out containers are filling up the oceans and filling out our waistlines.
Don’t wash things that aren’t dirty. If you only wore that shirt for two hours (and didn’t spill anything on it) it probably doesn’t need to be washed again. Water might not be scarce right this second but in the scheme of things it is.
Plan some logged off time. The Internet can last hours and even days, weeks and months without you. But let’s start small and maybe put down the electronic devices for a few hours each day. Saves power and is better for your mental health.
Go outside. Spend some time in nature, it means the lights are off, the TV is off and you’re getting healthy. Go on, get!
Check who you’re working with. Not sure what your bank invests in? Not sure what other organization that coffee chain might support? It does take some effort but it’s a good idea to know who you’re in bed with and whom you might be indirectly supporting.
Be Selfish! Don’t feel like you need to have a noble reason to make the world a better place. The fact that you live here and give a fuck about yourself is enough of a reason.