Shakespeare said it best:
“Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble”
Today, as we look around our country and our world, we can see more than double the trouble:
Yes, we have fire.
Yes, we have the delta variant.
Yes, we have racial, gender and class tensions.
Yes, we are already in the midst of global climate change.
Yes, all of these and more are global problems.
Often, our prevailing mindset about these is that they are too overwhelming for us to do anything about them. However, if we think globally while focusing on what actions we can take locally, we can restore hope.
To paraphrase another great playwright, Merideth Wilson:
We got trouble all right, but the trouble is right here in River City ( Or Ann Arbor, Detroit, Norfolk Virginia, Tucson Arizona etc).
I have some ideas about what we can do to act locally to impact these global problems. My ideas are only a few. I encourage all of you to share your ideas of what we can do to act locally to combat problems which seem global.
Support a nonprofit organization whose mission is to combat serious problems in our environment. There are two ways to provide support: true financial giving or through volunteer support.
Address gender inequalities at your workplace.
Teach your children about what you are doing to address the troubles that we face.
Get out of your comfort zone by getting involved with people who are different from yourselves: get to know them in their communities, not yours.
Shop local, bank local, buy products at local farmers markets or at farm-to market-stores like Argus Farm Stop in Ann arbor.
Take care of yourself so that you do not become a burden on the healthcare system.
Recognize that we are all members of various tribes: our families, our neighborhoods, our institutions such as schools and religious institutions, to name a few. Act with respect to these tribes and to those of others.
Recognize that we are only as strong as our weakest link. Wherever you are, do what you can to strengthen that link.
Address local environmental problems (for example, the toxic plume which threatens many neighborhoods in Ann Arbor).
Most importantly right now, do what you can to stop the spread of the new delta variant of covid: get vaccinated, wear masks inside public places, encourage others to get the vaccine, create policies where employees cannot come to work unless they are vaccinated.
Remember: this is not just about us; this is not just about you; this is about our children and grandchildren. Remember to do what you can to make this a better, safer world for them.
Learn what you can do about these problems through reading, podcasts, TV, and share these resources with others. I recently read a book by the children’s author John Green called Anthropocene. It is about our current era, one in which mankind is acting upon the environment. I highly recommend it.