In the beginning, the earth was empty. It was clean and abundant and pristine. Animals roamed freely and adhered to the circle of life. Humans arrived and lived off the earth. Males hunted animals for protein and fat and females gathered fruits, berries, and vegetables for carbohydrates. Historians believe the hunter-gatherer spent around 20 hours per week “working.” I image they spent the rest of their time painting, story-telling, crafting weapons, making clothes, inventing cooking utensils, making love, eating, sleeping, and laughing. We understood the concept of enough.
Then something happened. The human race grew, the climate changed, and there was no longer enough for everyone. We started to grow our own food rather than rely only on what nature could provide. This was the birth of agriculture. At some point, people started claiming land for their own and some had more and others had less. Some didn’t have any at all. This was the birth of poverty.
For some reason, humans decided to hoard resources for themselves, even though they didn’t really need it. We started to believe that the person with the most stuff “wins.” We even began to disregard the well-being of our fellow humans and the planet in pursuit of additional wealth. We forgot the meaning of enough and learned a new definition for “success.”
We now find ourselves living in a world that is overpopulated, soon to be depleted of resources, with a growing number of destitute brothers and sisters. A few of us have lots of money and treasures, but we are not happy. Something is missing. We work all the time to make more money, because this is the definition of success. We long for community. We feel bad about all the starving people, so we give a little money. It feels empty. We worry about ice caps melting and polar bears drowning, so we change our light bulbs and buy reusable shopping bags. Is it making a difference?
I believe in a future where everybody (including all species) has enough and the planet is healthy again. It is up to us to re-learn what enough means and adjust our lifestyle to take only our share. Until this happens, we will continue to see an increase in poverty, high infant mortality, depletion of resources, and violence. Please join me in living simply enough for a poverty-free and healthy world.
Photo Credit: Kevin Tuck, http://www.rgbstock.com