Hello, My name is World. I’m not exactly a kid. At 4.54 billion years old, I’m pretty long in the tooth. Two-legged creatures like you with the ability to think and reason have been living on me for about 200,000 years. And as strange as this may seem, you have become kind of like my caretakers. Yes, you.
I understand you have a tradition of writing resolutions to take into the new year. You know, things you want to do better, habits you want to break, friendships you want to mend. Stuff like that.
Well, I’m taking you on. I’m writing because I’m not too happy with you. I find your behavior is often abusive and lacking in empathy. Maybe you’ll read these ponderings, maybe you won’t, but I’ll feel better having written them.
1. How about a little more teamwork? The only time I see you really work as a team is if I send you a reminder of my power. I find a good earthquake, tsunami, tornado, famine, epidemic, flood, mudslide, forest fire, cold snap, heat wave, or hurricane really gets you working together. I would like to not have to resort to such drastic measures to get more esprit de corps.
2. How about fewer wars? You mess up my land, my natural beauty. I’m a big place. There should be room for everyone. Treaties and trade agreements can help decide who has what. Negotiations and compromise can help work out the fine points. Of course, the decision makers have to live up to the conditions and resist greed and power. And the people have to get with the program. Can you all get smart about this?
3. How about valuing human life? Like I said, I’m a big place, big enough for different points of view and belief systems to co-exist. Waving swords and guns at each other doesn’t cut it. Armies having to engage is not good. Think of the potential artists, writers, sculptors, poets, scientists, researchers, risk takers, innovators, philosophers, orators, and great leaders who are wasted. They are the very ones who perpetuate, explain, and record our cultures. Think of the children, men and women, good people, denied the gift of living.
4. How about more respect for each other? Please stop teaching and modeling hateful and intolerant behavior. The perpetuating of hate for hundreds of years between ethnic and religious groups, inflamed by sly remarks, slurs from the side of the mouth, innuendo, and overt acts isn’t working. Please put the centuries of long memories aside and build new ones based on coexistence. I know, I know. This will take time. But we can honor the sacrifices of the past and still build respect for the peace-minded diversity of the future.
5. How about taking care of me? I understand you celebrate Earth Day. In 2015, it’s on April 22. I like the gesture, but let’s up the game. After all, I’m the one supplying the clean air, pure water, arable land for agriculture, and natural resources. I don’t know how long I can last while you keep messing up. And you’re the ones who will suffer when these things go south in a big way. How about a little more conservation, preservation, and caring about me? My condition affects all of you.
Sorry. Didn’t mean to go on a rant and be so hard on you. After all, it is the new year. But please think about these things. And you should know I am buoyed by the presence of forward-thinking leaders, conservationists, watch-dog organizations, charitable groups, and systems of law and government that seem to keep the greater good in mind.
My wishes for each of you in the new year? Enough food, a safe home, clean water, sanitation, a way to earn a living, education, freedom from disease, dignity, and respect for yourselves and each other. I wish each of you to be free from man-made calamity and horror. And I want each of you to be safe, surrounded by the love and comfort of your family.
I know you’re working on teamwork, fewer wars and more peace, the valuing of human life, respecting each other, and taking care of me. The more success you have with these, the more progress you can make with the quality of life.
My New Year’s Resolutions? I won’t give up and I won’t lose faith in you, my caretakers.