Community: What North America Lacks Most a Guest Post by Michael Brine and Nikki Satira

By Michael Brine and Nikki Satira

The other day while having my usual morning cuppa in the local Westmark, I got chatting with the young waitress serving me who was new, and we discovered we were both vegetarians. It wasn’t busy so our conversation ranged onto other subjects and as a result I realised I was talking with a quite profound young person. As a result, Nikki–her name–shared with me, and I am now sharing with you that she had recently written an essay relating to a subject matter that meant much to her: Community. It is a subject I too have been reflecting on, so here are Nikki’s thoughts on this subject which, with her permission, I am presenting here for you also to reflect on. She is only 20, I might add.

Community: What North America Lacks Most
By Nikki Satira

Most people associate the idea of community with lame fairs, awkward neighbours
and 80s has-been bands playing in the local park, but what community really
encompasses is a group of people inhabiting a common location – sharing
resources like food and water, sharing recreational activities and contributing
to a part of the local economic infrastructure. A community is based on love,
friendship and compassion – they help each other out where help is needed. This
is what we need most in the world. This is my calling.

I am an environmentalist at heart, but it means something completely different
to me than what it means to most. Modern environmentalism, which is a growing
movement in North America, is entirely human-based — saving the planet for the
survival of our own species rather than for the sheer love of the planet and
all of the creatures within it. This has created one of the most disheartening
afflictions of our time – individualism. Not the type of individualism that
refers to any personality traits someone might have; I’m talking about the “one
man for him or herself” mentality. We don’t share anymore, we don’t ask for
help or advice, we don’t love as openly – we shy away from people when they say
“hello” to us on the street because we are programmed from our time of birth not
to talk to strangers. We fence our yards, shut our curtains and talk on the
Internet – just about anything to keep ourselves from interacting with one
another face to face.
Forget what music we like, forget what we’ve read, where we’ve been, where we’re
born or how much money we have – these aspects of our lives are all trivial in
the grand scheme of things. The fact of the matter is simple: We all have one
common denominator, one single aspect of our lives that connects all of us: the
Earth. Whether you see it terrestrially or celestially, it is one aspect of our
lives we can share in the most gentle of ways. The earth houses us; it feeds
us, gives us water and provides us with the most beautiful landscapes ever
known to the human eye and we have turned our backs on it. We know the issues
and disasters; we’ve seen them on the news or read about them in the papers and
we know that there is a limit to our consumption. Our output of product far
exceeds our input of resources and there is little left to argue about global
warming. We are at a tipping point, if I may suggest, and it may only get

When I walk by someone, I say “hello” (with a friendly smile). I say “hello” because
we are not strangers crossing paths but two people sharing the same space at the
same time – a part of each other’s lives for a brief but important moment in
time. I feel it is important to let others know that there is life here — that
there is beauty and love and friendship all around and we are not alone. You
should do the same.

We are all sharing one planet.
We have already destroyed it.
The only thing we can truly succeed at is embracing the human connection while
the earth is still habitable for human kind, and all the other life forms we share it with.

Now, if that isn’t profound — very touching and indeed, sadly a discomfiting truth — what is? Remember, she is only 20 and already she can see where Humanity has faltered. A fresh face will often see what we have become blind to, or, just as sadly, accepted imbalance as the ‘way it is.’

I, too, have been reflecting on the issue of how we share this Earth within the limiting confines of ‘countries’ — those lines on a map I have so often referred to in previous writings — and those ‘others’ across our separating borders. We are surely one humanity, only with differing backgrounds conditioned to see the world from the perspective of the culture we are born into. It is these ‘lines on a map’ that have largely set the stage and sadly separated us from each other; and the conditioning of distrust so often reflected in our conduct and attitude towards others, those who are “not us — different” resulting usually, in an attitude of caution.

Well, you know, I was all set to write an ongoing article and extend what Nikki has written and allowed me to share with you, but I think she has in essence said it all. This I will add: that in a world with escalating populations to almost critical levels, ‘Community’ would seem to be, if for no other reason, a sensible way to proceed in order to husband more carefully the diminishing resources of our shrinking world. It is my opinion that as a global society if we are to survive, it may well be the only logical way to continue. Whether we — humanity as a whole — will be able to make this transition and recognise that it would be a sensible way to deal with this growing crisis, is sadly doubtful. Our conditioning of mistrust of cultural differences, along with the dividing element of religion (that is growing), will likely stand in the way. The evidence is already uncomfortably before us with an increasing almost daily reality. I am sure that that God in the sky must be sadly shaking His head whose message delivered those many years ago that said, “Love ye one and other.”

Perhaps our ‘salvation’ lies in these younger members of our societies like Nikki who have an uplifting vision — but then they are only kids who don’t understand — they are too young to know that what they suggest is unrealistic — too simple — so who will truly listen?  You know, isn’t there a quote somewhere that says, “And a little child shall lead them,” or close to that? Hhhmmm — indeed!

Thank you, Nikki, for this vision and the underlying warning it carries — but also the vision that is also truly there. It is to you — all of you — that follow after us, like Nikki, to whom we should apologise, for you are the ones who will have to deal with the mess we have been creating. However, I have a feeling that you will — so on behalf of the rest of us, “Good luck,” and thank you for this vision, and maybe — just maybe — we will — all of us — pick up on it and move forward together. That’s the vision. Are we up to it?   YES!!

Other articles by Michael Brine here at NAtP  may be accessed by clicking on his name in the Categories section and  on the following web site –  Michael’s e-mail address is

9 thoughts on “Community: What North America Lacks Most a Guest Post by Michael Brine and Nikki Satira

  1. It’s true, community is an important piece of the puzzle that we’ve slowly lost as we all get physically closer to each other. Mentally we are pushing each other back and hiding from the truth of our ancestry’s most horrendous mistakes. Each generation so far has pushed us further and further to the brink, even though there have always been people who have had a more uplifting vision like Nikki, but its true. No one will listen. It would be too simple. But humanity is too complicated, (in it’s own simple minded way.) A simple machine with many parts then becomes a problem. Think of mathematics. There are simple procedures that when done on there own are well, simple. But once you throw an addition problem in with a multiplication principle and then throw it into an equation. 5+2 x 2 = B it then becomes difficult. That’s the problem with human society we’ve all become so individualistic that there is no sense of community as Nikki has shown us.

    In some cases that’s why many African American people believe that the civil rights movement is one of the worst things that has happened to the African American people in the entire history of the post Civil-War united states. Community has fallen away and we keep pushing each other out. We need to open up to each other before it’s too late.

  2. Thank you Devin – There is much wisdom in what you share.

    Let me add one element that has not been mentioned in our – Nikkie’s and mine – original writing but has a large bearing on how societies ‘progress’ is through a stable and loving family environment. As you know – especially in our Western cultures since the end of WW2 – family has sadly become a disintegrating influence as relationships break up and children are raised by single parents who have to work, and as a result children often end up out on the street looking for ‘family’ – and they do – but not a healthy one. The rest we know – sadly.

    Thank you again, Devin – Michael.

  3. Wow – Devin – Pam has just told me that you are only 17! Young in body but old in soul – Indeed.

    Let me then add and be a bit more personel to what I said in my response to you about the loss of family in our ‘modern’ [?] world often due to break ups.

    I KNOW what I am talking about because it happened to me. FYI – I am now 75 but I ended up on the ‘street’ when I was 14 in 1949 when my parets broke up and I went with my mother. In order to put food on the table she had to became a private nurse and had to be away from home for a week at a time. She would leave me money to buy food for my needs while she was away. Word got around and before I knew it older guys were showing up at our home which was near Montreal. Over-night poker games began and then over nighting in the bedroom and I found myself quite popular but for the wrong reasons. I was confused by all this but it did indeed feel like family – in a rather sick way I guess.
    To cut this short I ended up going with two older boys to a different town and we stole a car. Then the eldest who was around 21 stole my mother’s car the next day and took off. When I found out I chased him in the stolen car and ended up crashing it into a tree and was almost killed.

    At this point my father got involved and I was put into his custody and due to my age was saved by an influential person who knew both my parents so I was not charged for theft – although the two other older boys were. However, this experience has given me the insights that I now have on the effects of families disappearing and the negative results that can evolve because of it – as in my case.

    Be well Devin – Michael.

    • That is a sad story, and in the end though it’s those sad stories that either make us stronger, or break us apart and throw us to the ground. After my parents’ own divorce, my mother moved farther and farther away until she ended up moving about 1200 miles from me. Then my father met a very insane, very cynical, and very sly woman. This woman, she did not beat me, nor did she ever cause physical harm to me. She knew exactly how to play my father like an instrument and make me look like the bad guy. Over time I began losing faith in my own family and began moving inward on myself. By the 5th grade I had had enough and told my father that I was moving in with my mom. By the time I finally did leave, the woman was out of his life and she had moved out. But it was too late and I had made my decision and I wasn’t backing out of it.

      For a year I lived wtih my mom and during that year I went through many tribulations about myself and learning things about myself that I had never knew before. Going from who I thought I was sexually (male/female) to what I preferred. I became more of a recluse and began writing poetry as an escape.Then, after I returned for a visit to my father, I decided to return to the town in which I was raised. My 7th grade year is when I returned and began opening up to the people around me. I found kids my age that were similar to me. Outcasts by the ever growing divorce crowd. We flocked together and some of them became people I could trust with my life. Others I wouldn’t even trust a penny to.

      I’ve grown and realized there are some people you can trust. Some you must push out. And I’ve created a family that is nurturing to me, that I know I can trust. I know my fears of the fact I can’t trust my family at this point in time is probably unsound. But the damage has been done. And I believe you can teach an old dog new tricks, but it is rather difficult.

      • Hi Devin,

        Wow, Michael’s story shook yours loose, too, didn’t it? Thank you so much for sharing so deeply your story. You are wise and courageous. The interesting part about emotional trauma is that the people who recover lead the way for others onto the healing path.

        I hope you can take comfort from the fact that we choose our lives before we are born, to learn who we really are and how to accept the unconditional love of the Universe. As you grow older you will look back on your childhood and see the perfection of it all. You will understand that the healer must be wounded before he can help others to heal their wounds.


  4. Again Wow! Thank you Devin for opening up as you did. It just makes me realise that you only need to begin to scratch the service and stories like ours begin to surface. Yes Pam – it IS about learning if we can only embrace that realisation. So many don’t.

    Let me give you both a quote from a past teacher I had – [Pam, I may have shared this with you before but no harm in repeating.’]

    “There is no such thing as a mistake – Only unrealised wisdom.”


    PS – All the best Devin – Please know you have another friend now. You have my e-mail address from the “Community” article. M.

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