Big Changes Start with Small Steps

Think locally, reap global rewards. Josh Blode on the state of the world, and how to rectify it.

The future for many, particularly young people, appears to be quite bleak. We spend a significant amount of our time critiquing the older generations for the world that they have left us; stressing over the climate crisis and the state of the economy. In order to improve our lives and the state of the planet moving forward, we are going to have to think a lot more locally. 

How we, as a global society, evolve to the ever changing nature of our world is the ultimate test of our generation.

Our modern, fast-paced lifestyles have been pulled into sharp focus, with the outbreak of COVID-19 threatening to unravel it all. It is clear that countries and local communities have been put in a position in which they must prioritise their own population and how best to protect one another. To me, the potential ramifications of the Climate crisis and possible economic downturn will yield the same results and same reliance on the community that is evident so far in 2020. 

How we, as a global society, evolve to the ever changing nature of our world is the ultimate test of our generation. It is our responsibility to best answer the questions of; How we can best ensure everyone has a house? How do we ensure that everyone can have food on the table? What are our means of communication and transport? These are not new questions. However, our reality and the way we will be forced to respond to these questions are new. 

On a global scale we are going to see an astronomical rise in refugees. Not because of war, but because of famine, drought and flooding. The impact of the climate crisis will see the most vulnerable in our world displaced first and we, in developed nations, must be the first to respond to their call. This is our responsibility as a local community in a globalised world. 

One country produces rice while another produces wheat to ensure that, to the most extent, the world can stay full day in and day out.

On the other hand, we must start to shift our focus to how we can maintain our lifestyle and protect ourselves from the impending hardships that, to me, seem inevitable. We must accept the reality that if we do not shift our modes of transport, particularly that of air travel – to be carbon neutral – we will not have the luxury to experience the world as much as we do. But more importantly, we must be aware of the potential threats to our food and water supplies. We cannot continue to rely as heavily on imports as we currently do. We must adapt, beginning now, as to how and where we grow our fruit and vegetables. Ask ourselves if we can continue to raise and kill livestock in the quantities that currently exist? 

As it stands, without importing a vast amount of our foods many communities around the world would struggle to maintain their basic level of food consumption. This, in many ways, is what is beautiful about the world. How in sync we are with one another. One country produces rice while another produces wheat to ensure that, to the most extent, the world can stay full day in and day out. But this reality will swiftly change. As more people move into the city we must develop infrastructure that allows for vertical and rooftop gardens. People need to have a large amount of their food produced in close proximity to where they live. It is also imperative that we ensure enough space within these new city landscapes for community parks and kitchen gardens. 

This all leads me to my final point. As we think more local we are going to have to act more communally as well. COVID-19 is showing us how easy it is for the world to go into lockdown mode, socially isolating all members of society. It is showing us that people will think and act for themselves. With more and more parts of our lifestyle putting us behind the screen and away from others I am realising how important social interactions are. As we move forward and begin to rely on our local community we must ensure that we do not do this just to maintain our consumptive lifestyle. That is what got us here in the first place. 

I always hear that you should leave a place looking as good, if not better, than the way you found it. For our generation it will not be acceptable to leave this place as we found it.

Consumption is the reason that the climate crisis is as bad as it is. Selfishness and greed is the reason that young people struggle to afford homes and to stay above the poverty line to put food on the table every day. Our revolution must focus on the people around us. This is not to say that we should not take in those who need help. We must continue to do this. But now is the time for us to take care of one another in a more meaningful way. 

I always hear that you should leave a place looking as good, if not better, than the way you found it. For our generation it will not be acceptable to leave this place as we found it. We have been tasked with leaving this world better than we have found it. We must act now and act fast.

Josh is currently studying a Masters of Environment and Sustainability, which has clearly influenced his writing. He has spent many years volunteering in a youth organisation and has recently found a renewed love in riding his bike.

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