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 – www.missionignition.net/btb. Michael’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org