I’m here at work creating a list of the challenges we (our firm) face in our work. The next task: to create a list of the problems our clients face. Yet, I find it much easier to view Planet Earth as our client, and its challenges are indeed many.
While I list these threats—all very significant, all looming—I feel surprisingly less uneasy as I would have expected. In fact, I feel relieved; as if listing these massive problems will help me wrap my brain around them, and guide every action from this day forward in an effort to address, resolve, or at least pacify them somewhat.
They are, nevertheless, monumental. My list evolved:
- Depleted resources
- Social unrest
- A changing climate
- Extreme weather events
- Global habitat destruction/loss and global species extinction
- Pollution and contamination of all Earth’s ecosystems (including the omnipresence of trash)
- Continued and potentially increasing violence, at many scales
- Extreme population growth
- Energy dependence (rather than self-reliance)
- Loss of human interaction; society becomes a slave to technology
- Worldwide hunger
- Economic instability (on a national level) and poverty (on the individual level [albeit an issue tied to the entirety of society])
- Globalization (including the spread of invasive, non-native species and the loss of culture and individuality)
Putting these worries to paper was therapeutic, but putting pen to paper is not a solution. The step, now, is to DO SOMETHING. And every person, no matter how small, has the ability to affect great change. This list will be in the back of my mind, a constant reminder of what I’m fighting for: a safer, healthier, inclusive, equitable, “greener,” cultural, and more sustainable and resilient Earth.
It’s no easy task, but I remain ever the optimist. With collaboration and a concerted effort, we can quell these noisy threats.