Back in 2017, not long after I started blogging, I wrote this. It felt relevant to me at the time. It feels even more so now. It seems as if we live in an increasingly polarised and divisive world. It’s Them versus Us. Us versus Them. Who ‘they’ are and who ‘we’ are varies, depending on the individual and their world view. But one thing seems true to me, we are heading further and further away from each other. We stay within our echo chambers and put our hands on our ears so we cannot listen to the other side of the debate or other people’s experiences. We revert back to primary school and call each other insults rather than listen. Personally, I don’t think anything will be solved with this attitude. We need to work together on issues of poverty, discrimination, persecution, homelessness, prejudice, violence, conflict etc. We need to look after each other, especially the more vulnerable. We need to be able to co-exist with other species in harmony and respect their natural habitat. We need to care about our planet.
Often at Cosy Cottage, I watch the blue and great tits fluttering over to the bird feeder to nibble fat ball snacks. (Yes, Cosy Cottage also operates as a café for my feathered chums).
And while I do, I brood upon the state of the world.
Is it me or do labels divide us?
Who are you? Are you male, female, transgender, intersex, gay, straight, bisexual, black, white, brown, mixed race, Christian, Catholic, CofE, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, agnostic, atheist, Tory, Labour, Lib Democrats, Green, Remainer, Leaver, poor, rich, comfortable, British, English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, American …?
And so on… And so on…
Of course, we are this and that, that and the other. I am some of these descriptions too. Of course I am. They form part of each and everyone’s identity and certainly I am proud of my Celtic heritage.
But what if we focus on these labels to such an extent that other issues are forgotten?
Like the planet. Endangered species. Pollution.
Would things be better if, instead of thinking of ourselves and each other in terms of our gender/race/sexuality/religion (etc etc) identities as our first concern, we look at each other primarily as
2. Humans who live on a beautiful planet – which we really should start looking after as it is our home!
3. Humans who share our home (planet) with our fellow beings (other species) who have just the same right to live here as we do.
For any religious readers, I do believe that, if there is a God, He would want us to look after the planet given to us … And care for each other, humans and animals.
And for non-religious readers, even without a God, why would we want to mess up the home we all live in? Why arrogantly assume we are the only species which matters? Or leave our planet in a polluted, disease-ridden, barren state for the next generation?
Facts of the Day
1. Elephants face serious threats including illegal killing for ivory and habitat destruction. In 1900, there were 10 million elephants. In 2014, there were only 420,000. (www.bornfree.org.uk)
2. It takes plastic 400 years to degrade in water.
3. Chemicals such as pesticides, found in polluted water, can contaminate food chains through affected marine life. This can lead to nervous system damage, hormonal problems amongst others. (www.plasticoceans.org)