The 2015 Paris Climate Conference is taking place right now. Climate change is the most important challenge facing future generations on our planet. And energy poverty is among the most pressing concerns. All nations participating must make their clean energy plans known and funding to implement those plans is, as always, the greatest challenge of all. Wealthier nations will have to support poorer, developing economies to stand a chance at moving towards solutions.
So what, you might ask, can we mere mortals do to meet this challenge? You might consider buying a Prius, changing your lightbulbs, or eating less beef. But I submit that while these changes would help, they are merely a bandaid approach to the real change that is needed.
So how will real change occur? What I am about to suggest will sound like new-age poppycock to many, but here goes.
Stop comparing yourself.
When humans compare themselves to others, the often plunge into despair that their neighbor has a better house, a better job, a better spouse, prettier, a better 1.3 children, and so on. So they do more, buy more, and still continue to envy. Humans are predisposed by evolution to compare themselves. Our brains have not caught up with reality. Facebook counts on this for its very existence, as do many other products that prime your desire to acquire.
What if you decided you are enough? That you have enough? That you stopped considering yourself better than others? That while your faith or spirituality is important to you, others’ is just as important to them? Because that is the true heart of the issue. A leveling of sorts needs to take place within ourselves in order to help the planet. Until we each believe in the value of ourselves, we will not appreciate the value of others. And I am not suggesting that everyone stop seeking to strive and grow, but to do so more with the goal of engagement, not acquirement.
There is much talk in politics about income inequality as an issue of justice. This issue will only receive intermittent half-hearted efforts until the adjustment comes from within each of us that we all matter.
It is an inner solution, a shift towards less, that will bring the entire world more. So stop comparing yourself to others and get cracking with what really engages your mind and your body.