What if Planet Earth took some time off to fix itself?

Day in and day out, we are bombarded with statements about what a sorry state our planet is in. Global warming, terrorist attacks, refugees, animal extinction, natural disasters, hunger, disease, you name it. What we’re not told is that all these problems could be addressed – and even fixed – relatively easily. Perhaps by something as simple as taking some time off.

It seems as if we have screwed up our planet so bad, it’s only a matter of time before everything collapses. Our agriculture systems, our cities’ infrastructure, our collective health, our civilization. And mainstream media wastes no time pointing out how close we apparently are to our own demise, as they focus exclusively on feeding us political blame games, war, terror – and bad reality tv. It seems like no one focuses on possible solutions to all this malaise.

But why is that? Why don’t we focus more on shovelling out from the mountain of shit we’ve buried ourselves under? Instead of wasting time and energy on finding out who put us there, when the answer to that question is so painstakingly obvious: we all did! By burning coal, driving cars, flying planes, drinking bottled water, eating plastic-wrapped beef, using pesticides, wearing designer jeans, and buying smartphones.

And I’m not saying that you’re a bad person if you bought an iPhone or flew to Phoenix to visit your grandmother. I’m saying that we live and learn. And right now, we’re learning that the way we’ve done things for the past 100 years isn’t going to cut it if the next generations are to have any chance of living decent lives. We need to change something.

How many times have you heard that sentence? And how many times have you thought “yes, we need to change something” for about ten seconds, clicked “like”, and then gone back to doing things the way you used to? I bet many times. Because, most of us are good people wanting good things. We just don’t want to do a lot to get it. And also, will it even matter if you – a tiny individual – stop buying plastic bags and start eating tofu? Probably not, unless you’re able to persuade all your 1,200 Facebook friends to do the same. Unlikely…

Which is why I propose the following: Let us all – for a week, a month, a year – press pause on everything that does not contribute immediately to improving things. Let school children and real estate agents and social service recipients and designers and prison inmates and bankers and entrepreneurs and politicians help integrate our refugees, clean up our oceans, build CO2 neutral infrastructure, rethink our health care, reduce food waste etc.

I admit that this is a very outlandish idea that will probably never materialise. But if you don’t dream it, it won’t happen. Right?

So, while we wait for the world to pause, watch this Huffington Post video about the small things in life you can do that might make a big difference.

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