When I was a child and just beginning to get my bearings in the world it seemed like there was an awakening taking place and that the world would soon be a utopia of love and compassion towards one another. Being born in 1968 and growing up in the 70’s, there was a a sense of radical change still permeating our culture from the infamous 60’s. Consumer technology was just starting to ramp up, people were becoming more aware about the environment and integration was happening. There was even black people on TV shows. Soon we would all be living in harmony and everything would be as it should be. Or so I thought…
Fast forward to 1996 and my frustration with the ridiculously slow pace of change became too much to keep to myself. I had to speak out! The cool new thing called the Internet seemed like the place to do just that. I started Enviroshop and About Magazine (now technically referred to as blogs) because I saw the power of communicating with people without the filter of a network’s, or news producer’s, own agenda. It was truly empowering and I knew it was going to revolutionize everything, and it has. What I failed to realize then was the pace of that change and revolution. Even though we could now connect with everyone across the globe who had Internet access on the speedy dial up connection (I can still hear that obnoxious sound of modems connecting at 28.8) there wasn’t a centralized point of communication. It was just a bunch of random websites and slow search engines that helped you find what you were looking for by a topic you were already seeking out.
Don’t get me wrong, it was truly amazing and I think most of us could see that it was just the start. A few people even saw how to make it better. I myself came up with what was then the first click and drag website builder, but naively thought it could be done without venture capital. I was wrong and eventually became overwhelmed with trying to maintain it myself and all the bugs that came about as HTML (the programming behind web pages) evolved faster than I could keep up with. That’s a story for a different post, but it reminds me that no matter how great of an idea you have, you can’t always do it alone. Some ideas are just too big and require a team. Which brings me back to my original point, change takes time, but it also takes teamwork or a village as they say.
Like a lot of you, I spent some time watching the conventions of the two major parties these past couple of weeks along with all of the attacks on cops and innocent civilians of late. I’m reminded that as far as we’ve come, we still have a long way to go. Regardless of your candidate of choice (or neither), it’s easy to become disillusioned at the seemingly lack of progress in so many areas. As evidenced by the topics we cover on Enviroshop, there are a lot of injustices and frustrations that we share with you in regards to positive change. There are also a lot of small victories and awakenings that we celebrate whenever we can. Having the first African American president, the first female nominee for president from a major political party, gay marriage, environmental awareness, animal welfare, etc.
These are all things that most of us agree should have happened much sooner and that eventually will be taken for granted as just the status quo. As slow as change comes, it is speeding up. The evolution of the Internet & social media has widened all of our views from filtered local and national news to real insights into other peoples lives and struggles. Think about all of the videos showing police injustice as well as their heroism in the face of deranged attacks on them and civilized society. It can be very depressing, but it can also be eye opening, spiritually awakening, and can remind us that we are all in this together. The same could be said about the move to cage free eggs by all of the major corporations and the growing awareness that the animals behind the food chain have real feelings and emotions.
I remember a time when people thought I was crazy for being vegetarian. Yes there are still some who say stupid things about it, but I have seen a shift there too. It’s gone from ridicule to curiosity and respect for commitment to compassion. I am genuinely excited to go shopping now to see the latest vegan options that have come out. With 5% of the US population already having gone veg and the explosion of available choices and food advances, it’s just a matter of time before cruelty and suffering of animals for the food supply are a thing of the past. Will it happen overnight? Of course not. I know that can be frustrating to those who are dedicated to the cause though. The same can be said of the struggles that minorities face on a daily basis. I think a lot of us knew it was an issue that was getting better, but before the videos of late surfaced we didn’t realize the extent of just how bad it actually is. Those videos allow us to see it from their perspective and give us a first hand view of the injustice that is still taking place today.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating patience and tolerance for injustice in any form. I’m actually advocating you become more vocal and speak up for those that can’t or who are too afraid to do so. Just understand that there are many who refuse to accept that things need to change until they are awakened. You may be aware of injustices in the world and fight for positive change, but there are a lot of people who refuse to see it because it makes them uncomfortable or it forces them to accept that things are not as perfect as they’ve convinced themselves it is. My advice is keep fighting for what you know is right, keep an open mind yourself, and take comfort that as slow as it is, change is happening and things are getting better.
The more you participate and the more you encourage and educate others to do the same, the faster positive change will happen. You don’t have to be a blogger, protester, or an activist to influence the world. You just have to speak out when you see, or hear, it happening. Whether it’s your old school uncle who makes bigoted remarks, your friend who makes an inappropriate joke, or someone being disrespectful of someone’s beliefs; it’s up to you to call them on it and speak up. If you want the world to change, you have to participate. I’m not saying you need to put yourself at risk if you don’t feel safe speaking up at a given moment, but at a minimum you should tell others what you witnessed so awareness grows. We all have different levels of comfort when it come to confronting people and situations, but when you stay completely silent, you become part of the problem. Even just discussing what you saw happen on social media can be a positive influence. “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Until next time, I hope I gave you something to think about and that you contribute to the evolution of consciousness!
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