I grew up in the 80s and 90s, when things were built to last. Up until the year 2000, my family had a working TV since 1986. My uncle got rid of his still working 40-year-old set well into the noughties because of the forced conversion to digital.
These days, everything is made to last for no more than an average of two years – weather pending – forcing you to consume more, thus creating more rubbish and throwing out more plastic and electronica that ends up in our waterways and eventually the oceans where its now started to kill whatever endangered animal will mistake it for food.
It’s a tragic comedy that we, as a species, have allowed ourselves to drown in such a poisonous atmosphere caused by Consumerism. Our being told we NEED THINGS. NEED GREED. NEED WEALTH. NEED POWER. Our acceptance that the processed foods we eat, that we all know is unhealthy, is the food we eat.
I’m now a gluten-free member of society. Yet, to yet healthy, I have to pay more than those that are still unaware of what they’re putting in their bodies. The constant poisoning of every habitat on this planet, the fracking, the overfishing, the over-drilling, , the overpopulating. It’s a vicious cycle that has escalated in the last few decades with advertising and marketing companies force-feeding us with the NEED and the WANT to have things that we don’t really need or want.
If you haven’t noticed, our home, Earth, suffers from the C word – Consumerism. It’s the planet’s cancer that holds us by the balls and ovaries. And now with Christmas coming up, the mother of all consumer holidays, the amount of unnecessary things we receive just to throw out after a day – and almost all made with or of plastic – is equal to the amount of stars in our galaxy.
OK, maybe I’m exaggerating but if you haven’t yet noticed, our planet is sick and running a high fever. The cancer is forever spreading due to over consumption. You know when you eat too much and feel horribly bloated and gassy? Like you need to be rolled to bed? This is how our home, Earth, feels and has been feeling since the 70s. We’ve been systematically destroying everything we actually NEED and WANT for survival – trees, eco-designed habitats, organic foods and clean waterways – and consuming things we really can do without. In the last 100 years, humans have killed of 60% of wildlife.
Can you fathom that? Can you let that fact sit for a moment?
If we just stopped reading those magazines that sell us the ‘Perfect’ idea of what one should look like, what one should drive, what one should wear and what one should live in and how much one should make in order to afford all of the above, we might actually get something done that would help cure the sickness of this planet.
This Christmas, while you sit around feasting and gorging and ripping open gift wrappings and throwing away all the boxing and packaging which is almost all made of plastic, pause for a moment. Give thought to the fact that it will end up in the ocean. While you cuddle by the fire and decorate a tree with more plastic, hold space for the people of Syria and what they’re going through. For the people of Dafur, of South Sudan, Chad, CAR, Mali, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Palestinians, Rohingas. Indigenous peoples everywhere. Give a thought to all those who are in a dark place yet find a way to smile with nothing more than the shirt on their back.
Imagine if we didn’t consume any gifts this year, instead donate what we truly don’t need to those that truly need it (clothes, toys, you know the jazz) as a gift. The actual meaning of Christmas – to give to those without.
Go out and clean up your neighbourhood, the forest behind your home, the ocean where you surf and swim. Instead of populating the Earth with more people, have one kid and adopt another one or two. There’s so many orphaned children out there who could really use a family – a good family, to spend the festive season. And, you know, life.
Christmas has long lost its message of Family and Togetherness and Being One. It’s become about consumption on an unprecedented level from food to alcohol to things. And what really makes my reindeer pout is the fact that we only give ourselves one day of the year to possess this ‘Christmas Spirit’ which, if you think about, is actually just about being human without the bullshit of a monetary system. We’ve given it a title and put this ‘Christmas Spirit’ on such a high pedestal, the angels are wondering where they went wrong.
If the ‘Christmas Spirit’ is about being compassionate and kind-hearted and helpful when someone asks, isn’t that just about being human? And here we are, accepting that it’s fine to reduce this natural state-of-mind we’ve all been told and ordered to keep to a minimum to just one day a year, let out like a guard dog that needs its legs stretched.
That’s supposed to make up for the other 364 days when we’re battling each other for that monetary bonus? For that promotion? For that better grade?
Imagine if every day you projected and attracted in return that ‘Christmas Spirit’ – that humanity. Imagine if all the negativity in our lives were turned around by just changing a word and the attitude that goes with it. Humans are the only species to carry negativity. Instead of falling in love, rise in it. Instead of being a hopeless romantic, be a hopeful one. Instead of looking grumpy or unapproachable, smile – it’s contagious, in a great way.
We’ve accepted that our lives must be in competition with each other. From day one of birth we’re told to compete: through academia, sports, work, religion and even within the family against siblings and cousins. Imagine if instead of fighting against each other we worked together so that everybody gets to rise up and evolve themselves and see the world for what it really is: Beautiful in spirit, beautiful in nature and beautiful in its species. It’s ironic that the very virus that is killing our home, Earth – Human Beings – Is the only one that can save it. It’s a Catch 22 until we can reprogram ourselves to just Being Human.
We, the people, have absolute power – together. Individually, we can’t do much because we’re always competing. But together? Look what happened at Standing Rock. That was all togetherness. That was all compassion and love and forgiveness.
That is Being Human.