What one thing do you think that countries, companies or individuals must do to make the world a better place in 2008?
There are several easy answers to this question. For example there is this YouTube clip. Which I personally think is a brilliant response (especially from a world leader).
On the more satirical side (you know me) there is this image I plucked from the Onion, which I think sends a poignant message, about ignorance, over commercialization, and taking advantage of those less fortunate.
Somewhere on our planet, a person dies from a water born illness every 20 seconds. India is particularly effected by water issues, and yet instead of pumping money (or water???) into impoverished communities in that country, we are building call center after call center in the larger cities; in order to increase the profit margins of western based companies. More profit’s means better bottled water, amongst other things… imagine the horror of drinking tap water so that harvested water could be shipped to places on the globe that are in need.
Am I bitter? Perhaps a little. Lets move on.
Pick your region of the world, and you will find poverty, homelessness, poor general health and chemical dependencies. This is true of the richest cities of the United States and in the poorest villages in deepest recesses of Africa, Southeast Asia, etc. And yet, billions of dollars are spent trying to mold, militarily, the mind set and political paradigms of nations around the world. Somehow a political ideology is more important than the welfare of the people living within it? I donâ€™t get it.
The Gloden Rule has been watered down (â€œpunâ€ intended) over the years from “Do unto other as you would have them do unto you” to something frequently more resembling “do unto other before they do unto you”. That of course is a worst case scenario, but the bottom line is that, even in the hands of well meaning people, the phrase has often lost its true meaning. For example, just because you want a tax deduction, does not mean that giving one to someone else is following the golden rule. The phrase should read (for the populace of remedial readers out there, who are unable to distinguish the intent from the letter of language) “do unto others as they would like done unto them”. People (including myself) need to stop thinking that just because one solution works for them, it will be the right answer for everyone else as well.
A friend of mine once told me that he would never take marital advice from a person who had been through a divorce. He felt that a person should not offer advice in something in which they had failed. While I do not agree with this statement in the context in which it was stated. I do think there is something to be said for leading by example, or (since Iâ€™m into cliches toda) “Cleaning up your own back yard, before you worry about your neighbors”. The United States is busy promoting the virtues of freedom and democracy all over the world. However, at the same time, many of the worlds nations look at the United States as a failed experiment. Far too many of its citizens are impoverished, without work and without basic health care for these nations to take the US seriously as an international roll model.
So where does this leave us, with respect to an answer? What can countries, companies and individuals, world wide do to improve our planet in 2008?
I would suggest people start looking closely at themselves. Are you a positive roll model and activist for the change you want to see in the world? Write down the five most significant changes you would like to see in the world, then, on the same sheet of paper (or computer document) write down what you are doing about it. If the answer is not more significant than â€œtalking about itâ€ (i.e. in most cases â€˜complaining about itâ€) then you need to change your approach. Work toward having substantive measurable answers to what you are doing to improve each of your issues.Â Do all of this with an eye inward and be sure your credibility is intact before extending your goodwill to a neighbor.
A world of countries, companies, and people who are personally accountable to the issues they find to be most in need of repair would have no option but to improve upon itself.
Now, I’ve got some work to do, starting with making a little list…
(and maybe I’ll catch that vid one more time)