Climate change, and other factors, threatens our land, food and water security on a global scale. Nationally our health is deteriorating– there are 18.8 million people currently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, 7.0 million more people undiagnosed and 79 million people with pre-diabetes. Just the cost to treat the diagnosed was $245 billion in the United States in 2012, according to the CDC. Imagine the staggering figure if those 79 million people with pre-diabetes are added to the diagnosed figure. I could go on and on with sobering facts and statistics we all face.
It’s easy to see why some would simply give up figuring it’s too late to make meaningful change and those same people would think that an optimistic viewpoint is either out of touch or unrealistic. Chris Fields, the author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s newest distressing report states that, “I’m not depressed because I see the difference between a world in which we don’t do anything and a world in which we try hard to get our arms around the problem.” He’s a glass half full person, as am I.
So what do do? If you understand your own power and how much what you do matters not only on a local scale but a global one, you simply start. Figure out what cause pulls you from your seat and get involved. If everyone does this in some fashion, our future will be much brighter. I call this Focused Optimism. Optimistic people are healthier, happier and nicer to be around.
Here are some ideas to help solve our problems:
- Let’s help people –79 million of them–reverse pre-diabetes. It’s preventable! Imagine if you or someone you know decided that they aren’t going to add to this statistic. If 79 million people, being helped one at a time, did this we could change the world. Who can you help? Yourself? A relative? Friend? Ask your health professional. Ask me. I’ll help as much as possible. All that money we spend treating people for a disease that’s preventable could go to improving our schools.
- Climate change. Can you car pool sometimes, ride your bike one day a week perhaps? Refrigeration is a big issue as well. I have a friend, Amy Larkin, who just wrote a fantastic book, Environmental Debt: The Hidden Costs of a Changing Global Economy, who thinks that refrigeration is a key factor to improving climate change. Do you really need that extra refrigerator? Is your refrigerator really old and inefficient? Yes, refrigeration can help save the world.
- Water, and lack thereof–our biggest threat–is so important, second only to oxygen for life. Save water! Shorter showers, grey water, no lawns, whatever you can do to save water now will allow future generations to drink water and grow crops. Every little bit helps.
- Food. Minor detail. Grow food where your lawn used to be. Be cognizant of your food choices. Here is a big admission-I like a cheeseburger from time to time. That said it rarely happens because that cow drinks a lot of water and eats a lot of food that I could be eating. Remember, every little thing matters. Less cheeseburgers for a lot of reasons. Have you ever looked into a cows’ gentle eyes? That too…
- Teach kids to be optimistic–yes; I think it can be taught, mostly by example. Teach kids about respecting the Earth and how their day-to-day choices affect the Earth and their own health.
Let’s all think good thoughts and with our focused optimism we can begin to heal the world and ourselves.