Living in an environment of fear

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I have noticed a widespread feeling of dissatisfaction in London. It is a noise that constantly rumbles in the background. At times, it intensifies and dominates events in the foreground. It manifests itself in a variety of ways, most commonly in the form of moaning, negative commentary, jealousy, criticism and fighting. As part of this society, I recognise this phenomenon in myself.

I often wonder why this is the case in a city like London, an economically advanced society where everyone has access to the necessary commodities required for life. We have plenty of food in the shops and clean drinking water in our taps. We have a welfare system that offers a security blanket against absolute poverty and treats us if we are sick. We are free from the terror of war (think Gaza or Kiev and reflect on how different life could be) and are not threatened by earthquakes, poisonous snakes or wild elephants. The conditions for life then are comparatively good. So why are we not all happy?

Living in Fear

Newspapers and television networks love fear. The end of everything is never far away. Terrorism is a permanent threat. Your childhood heroes are paedophiles. Religious extremists are coming for you. Cancer is too. You are overweight. Migration threatens the core values of our society. Sea levels are rising. Energy and food prices are rising. There is simply not enough supply to feed the growing population. You are going to lose everything. PANIC!

Do we need to live in fear?

One day, every one of us is going to lose all of our material possessions (we are all going to die one way or another) so perhaps we should fear everything. Bad things do happen. They might happen to you. But then they might not.

While living in an environment of fear, we lose our power to instigate meaningful change in the world. The global system in which we live appears terribly complicated and riddled with danger. We therefore trust governments and global corporations to manage it for us and to make the right decisions.

Drilling in the Arctic

In our economic system, the primary aim of global corporations is to make money. They work closely with governments to this end and both benefit from the relationship.  Oil companies are not in the business of protecting the environment or building for a sustainable future. They simply wish to extract oil to make profits. Drilling in the Arctic is the right decision. There are alternative supplies of energy available and the arctic environment is too valuable to destroy. We should collectively take an interest to protect the arctic environment from drilling.

Can one person make a difference?

Collectively, we are stronger than we may at first believe. Think about the products you are buying – where they are from and who is producing them. If we all stop buying a particular product, the manufacturer has to respond, or it will go out of business. So boycott companies involved in the drilling and commercial fishing. Take an interest.

Protest to your leaders.  If every one of us joins together in protest to the Government (imagine how effective a sixty three million person march to Westminster would be, or a sixty three million person petition), the Government would have to respond. See www.savethearctic.org as a starting point for a petition to sign. For those looking for a gathering to join, head to the world’s largest climate march taking place in New York this September, on the eve of Ban Ki Moon’s climate summit.

Every one of us holds the power, although it may not feel like it. Keep going with recycling (it makes a difference!), cycle to work or catch a bus, use your own shopping bag. Consider reducing your consumption of meat and fish. If everyone makes an effort, things can and will change.

Being kind! The lessons learned from Monty Pythons The Meaning of Life

We need to break away from fear. Making a conscious effort to be a positive component in our environment is a good place to start. Being kind and considerate. This includes considering the impact on your environment when you refuel your car and drive somewhere.

By collectively raising our consciousness, we can instigate change in the world. Maybe one day in the future, we will live in a resource-based economy, rather than a profit based one. Perhaps we will utilise the geothermal energy that is abundant in the earth and energy will be free for all. No more burning of fossil fuels, no more oil companies. This can happen.

Self reflection

I am conscious I am employing some double standards when writing this post. I began by sharing my thoughts on the abundance of fear broadcast by media and then I add to the noise by speaking about the dangers of global corporations and governments running amuck in the environment. I myself am broadcasting fear! How do I reconcile that?

The system we live in is not perfect. It continues to evolve and will change with time. We are not silent passengers. If we can raise our levels of consciousness and aim to be kind, there is an opportunity to improve the system for ourselves and for future generations. It is not something to be afraid of. It is an opportunity.