For many of my friends and family, 2010 was a rough year... I for one, am looking forward to a better and brighter 2011, not just for those I know and love dearly, but for everyone in my state, my country and the world.
We live in a global community; what affects one person, one country, affects all people, all nations.
While it is still true that we must look first to our own backyards (because we can't take care of anyone else if we ourselves are not first healthy and whole), we must also look beyond our borders and fences and reach out to our neighbors. A balance must be struck between taking care of our own and taking care of each other. I don't know how this will come about--I'm hardly a political or business expert--but I know it must.
Perhaps it begins with individuals, with people like you and me. Perhaps when we stop seeing differences and start seeing similarities, we will learn to look beyond borders, fences... past hatred.
Perhaps it begins when we start to think of ourselves as part of a single race, the Human Race.
Perhaps it begins when we realize that while we are the dominant species on the planet, we are not the only species on the planet. There are over 10,000 animals on the endangered species list. There are nearly 7600 plants that are in danger of becoming extinct in our lifetime. Most of those animals and plants are endangered because of things we have done to our world--to their world. This is the only home we've got--the only home they have. I was devastated some while back, when I read that one of my favorite animals has probably become extinct, in my lifetime (in just the last few years, I'm sad to say) and that its extinction was caused solely by human negligence. It wasn't killed for food, nor was it killed because it kills animals we use for food. In fact, the Yangtze River Dolphin, or Baiji, is (was) considered a "national treasure of the highest order" -- but even that wasn't enough to convince Chinese officials to follow recommendations of conservationists, and establish a breeding population in a lake away from the busy, commercial waterways of the Yangtze river. Now it's too late.
I can only hope that when we learn to treat each other better, we will also learn to treat our planet and its other residents better, because this is the only planet we've got.
So along with the usual New Year's resolutions to lose weight, exercise more and spend less money, I hope that some of you will also resolve to do something for either your own race, the Human Race, or something for the world in which we live.
I, for one, pledge to start carrying my own re-usable totes to the grocery store AND other stores I visit when shopping. (That last one is where I always forget.) When the weather permits, I will walk to the grocery store instead of driving (which will have the added benefit of helping me lose weight!)
I will not sit by silently when someone says something that is offensive about another person's ethnicity, religion, gender, gender orientation or gender identity. It's a hard thing to do, but sometimes just telling someone "excuse me, but that's rude" is enough to get them thinking... or at least get others thinking.
I will continue to educate myself about and support the causes that are important to me; we can't all support every good cause, but if we support the one or two or three that are important to us, we truly can make a difference.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”