Off the Leash: Solutions start with one bite …

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It seems to me that humanity is at war with itself; a deadly war being fought on two fronts.

One front is catapulting us toward environmental disaster and the other is being fought over ideology and power. Which front will win out and get to the finish line first, accomplishing its ultimate goal, the complete destruction of the human race?

I liken this war to the man who enters the hospital for treatments for terminal cancer. While in the hospital he contracts a deadly infection. While the doctors scramble to get control of his health, the race is on.

Will cancer take the man’s life before the infection takes over or vice versa? The situation suddenly became very complicated. The odds of the patient dying have substantially increased.

While climate change begins to unleash the terrifying consequences of our neglect, we continue to debate the reality of cause and effect. The natural world cares nothing for our opinions. Nature is dispassionate and will carry out its response. Nature loses no sleep over the ruin left in its wake.

Governments point fingers at each other over who detonated the first bomb while children die in the sand while playing soccer in Gaza.

The waters of responsibility are murky. Both sides have their reasons for continuing this madness. But who is responsible for making peace?

My Jewish friend tells me that the Jews were put on this Earth to bring peace to the world. Is possessing superior weaponry the means for achieving this goal?

No easy answers are being formulated. Meanwhile, I try to gird myself against despair. Where is the hope that the patient may survive this calamitous ordeal?

I find hope when I see someone trade in their gas guzzler for a more efficient vehicle. I see hope when someone hangs their clothes on the line or rides a bike into town instead of driving, or when someone turns off the lights when leaving a room or chooses to live in 1,500 square feet instead of 15,000.

I find hope when I see a picture on the Internet of a Palestinian person in New York with their arm around a Jewish person, as if to say, “I am not your enemy.” I find hope when Tal Nitzsan, a courageous Israeli poet, writes a beautiful open letter to her Palestinian friend (found on the Internet entitled “A Letter to a Palestinian Friend”).

Will we give in to despair, or worse yet, apathy, and pull the covers over our heads and resign ourselves to inevitable destruction?

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Inform yourself, inconvenience yourself, find love and forgiveness in yourself, use your voice and speak.

Speak for your family, speak for your neighbors, speak for the Earth that sustains us, speak to your leaders, speak, speak, speak … and take a bite out of the problem.

(You can read Tal’s letter at restlessbooks.com/blog/2014/7/11/a-letter-to-palestinian-friend.)

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