Vision for the New Year

by Molly Brown

Here are my wishes for the new year and beyond, touching on many of the themes appearing in this column over the years.  In 2018 may we create a world in which:

  • The people and governments of the world, at all levels from national to local, unite to truly address climate disruption, its human causes and its effects;
  • Systemic racism is dismantled, so everyone is safe, respected, and free wherever they go, whatever their skin color, ancestry, religion, or culture;
  • Everyone has sovereignty over their bodies and health;
  • Everyone is paid a living wage for their work;
  • The health and well-being of people and the natural world take high priority over corporate profits;
  • Military interventions and warfare are shunned, replaced with communication, conflict resolution practices, compassion, and the sharing of resources with those in need;
  • Restorative justice replaces punishment in schools and communities;
  • A Truth and Reconciliation process helps Americans to face together our history of genocide, racism, oppression, land theft, and environmental destruction, and to make reparations where we can;
  • We all make conscious choices in how we live, what we buy, and what we throw away, based on the health and well-being of all;
  • Greed and self-interest gives way to concern for the common good, benefiting everyone;
  • Anthropocentrism disappears as we recognize the rights of ecosystems and natural communities to live and thrive;
  • We recognize the sentience of all living things and their participation in the health and well-being of ecosystems;
  • We become sufficiently empowered to see things as they are…and to speak the truth of what we see happening in our world;
  • We work together for a Great Turning to a Life-Sustaining Society.

Seeing things as they are and stating the truth as I see it, I must acknowledge that all this is not likely to happen in one year, no matter how quickly things can change when they reach a breaking point—and we may be close to that in some of these areas of concern.  However, we can all begin today to make a difference—as many readers of this column have already done.

The next time we go grocery shopping, we can choose local, fresh, basic foods and bring containers for bulk foods, reused plastic produce bags, and of course our shopping bags.  We can begin by regarding ALL our fellow humans as worthy of respect and support, recognizing that they want to provide for and love their families just as we do.  We can begin by letting educators—teachers, administrators, and school boards— know how we want ALL children respected and nurtured.  We can vote according to these values at every level of government, and communicate with our elected officials regularly.

We may not see the full flowering of these values in 2018, but through our actions, new buds and branches of a life-sustaining society will sprout and grow—even rapidly—in the coming years.