Note: this was originally posted in April 2020 and I am republishing it now because these sentiments hold just as true today, two years later.
I see the messages posted from people everywhere asking citizens to do what they’re told and keep each other safe. Social media posts imploring people to consider what side of history they want to be on. I like to think that each and every one of us are doing our part to protect ourselves and each other to the very best of our ability. I also fear that this is only the beginning of something greater that has the potential to keep happening over the coming years and decades unless we make some mighty upgrades to our daily choices.
We can’t undo our past, but we can evolve today and continue to do so tomorrow and the next day. My question is this: What side of the future are you going to be on? As a global population, it will require dramatic action to prevent this from happening again.
Whether we want to think about it or not, as a citizens of the developed world, we each have actively contributed to the current state of our oceans, the depletion of the Amazon rainforests as well as the forests and natural resources that touch our own cities and countries. These are the lungs of our planet, and we are destroying them. And now it’s our turn. It is the lungs of the human population that are being attacked.
We are destroying the lungs of the planet. And now it’s our turn. It is our lungs being attacked by this virus.
Through this platform, for which I have written for over a decade, I am not speaking to heads of industry and governments that continue to permit known carcinogens to be used in our hair dyes and nail polishes, home cleaning products, fill our furniture, and be sprayed on our food. Nor can I personally stop the mass imports of goods made on the cheap for our convenience. I cannot put bans on the chemicals that flood our farms, food supply, run into our rivers and impact those that live alongside these waterways and oceans.
I am talking to you. And you can speak with those who you know. We can make changes. We have to. They are not hard – certainly not remotely as challenging as the current reality we are living in.
Those at highest risk of this sickness are those with underlying conditions, heart disease and diabetes to name two. These two conditions are largely influenced and preventable with lifestyle and dietary choices. Access to healthy lifestyle essentials is limited to those who can afford them. We are seeing how this sickness can devastate populations that have had minimal impact on spreading it globally. And I cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that billions, or in some countries trillions of dollars, have been made available to support the economy in this crisis but somehow was lacking when it came to ensuring that every human on the planet had access to fresh food and clean water.
What are we doing about it? We’re now buying produce, with items individually packaged in plastic, delivered to our door in as many plastic bags as possible and feel secure in knowing that we have a hoard of disinfectant wipes to clean it all.
We think, I am safe. My family is safe.
We diligently watch the evening news, as the horror of death rates ignite our fear, while mostly waiting for the message that life can return to ‘normal’ soon. All the while, these practices we are taking on to protect us are destroying our microbiome, the root of our health defences. We experience how social distancing form chasms in our mental health, and the support for those with physical and mental challenges become harder to provide. We binge on industrial snacks and streaming video.
Long before we were asked to self-isolate, before stores were shut down (or the re-opening of the Apple stores across China was seen as progress towards safety) we were upgrading our gadgets every time there was a new release. We were supporting a disposable fashion cycle that has a new ‘season’ every four weeks. We were consuming plastic in greater and greater quantities until we find ourselves at a point where every minute the equivalent of a dump truck’s worth of plastic lands in the ocean. The glitter, the sequins, the plastic toys, the plastic clothes, the ‘cheap’ subsidized chemically grown conventional food, the instant gratification of same-day Amazon deliveries…
We created all of this. We supported it. We are not safe from it.
I vow to not be part of the fear. I will not allow the headlines and sound bites to infiltrate my consciousness, affect the energy I put out in the world, or chip away at my resilience. I will not sit around and be afraid and I implore you not to either. There is no greater harm to our health than the stresses we ruminate about in our own minds.
I am not going to sit around and wait for someone else, for something else to solve this. I want to be on the right side of today, and on the right side of the future.
Let’s feel proud of the efforts we make to protect our health and that of our family, our community and in supporting the wellbeing of people around the planet. If you have never felt it before, it’s quite obvious now – we are all connected. Every living being on the planet.
I want to feel proud of the effort I made, in my daily choices, to support the stabilization of our planet and all of us on it so that I can look my son in the eye in 10 years and 20 years’ time and have him know this.
I won’t have to tell him that it wasn’t the easiest to question the status quo, go against the paradigms and make decisions that at times could be isolating. I won’t have to tell him that we made efforts to make do with what we have, to consume less. I won’t have to tell him that we worked really hard to live a life of deep purpose, not disposable and rich only in instant gratification. I won’t have to tell him about the importance of gratitude, finding joy, the magic of nature, the power of mother earth and the universe.
I don’t want to have to tell him any of this. I want him to know it. I want him to see it in my efforts every single day of his life. I want him to witness what we have done, are doing and will continue to do to change the paradigm and create a future that is more connected, loving, stronger and healthier than the present.
18 responses to “What Side Of The Future Will You Be On?”
Brilliant article. This has been so on my mind. Perfectly expressed.
My dear Meghan, what a powerful post and thank you. It is because of wise souls such as you that there will be a future, and yes your on the side that will survive and thrive. <3
Thank you. A wonderful article. The helplessness I feel about the state of our world, doesn’t mean I can’t contribute to improving it in my own small way.
I can relate to every word you’ve written.
For the first time in my over 30 years in the health space, I’ve entertain the thought of going into politics. We HAVE to change the narrative.
Thank you! As I watch a community be subject to criticism for many family members living in small quarters, for car pooling instead of driving a gas guzzling vehicle with 1 person, I think they should be our example for the future not as pariahs! As a senior who grew up without all the “stuff” I try to lead by example and choose quality and local over quantity and my children and grandchildren see that. I too feel like too many are not hearing the earth’s cries.
Thank you for your article. I fee like everyone of us can make a difference. If every household planted a tree, used fewer chemicals, recycled more, and vowed to stop eating so many processed foods, there would be a collective change. Our individual choices effect more than ourselves but lives of others.
I don’t normally comment on articles but this really hit home for me. It is exactly how I have been feeling. I can feel myself getting more and more frustrated by being forced to use grocery store plastic bags, people spraying Lysol on their kids toys, the constant use of hand sanitizer, the fact that the dollar store with their cheap disposable wares is apparently considered an essential service…. There is a balance between staying safe and responsible in this crisis but people seem to be losing sight of the bigger picture. I have to force myself to calm down and tell myself that I only have control over my own actions and I can only lead by example. Thank you for this reminder.
Couldn’t agree more! Thanks for saying the things a lot of people dismiss.
I couldn’t agree more, and thank you for putting some of the same thoughts that I am sure a lot of us have out there!!! We can, and should, all contribute in our own way!!!
Great article, and very true. Let’s hope all people will get on the same page, of the damage we are doing to our Planet daily. I fear for the future of my grandchildren. I try and do my part, but can never do enough. But I will keep trying.
This is powerful. We each hold the power to change the word in our individual choices. Thank you for reminding us.
Thank you for sharing this. It is a topic that I could be reminded of every single day and in 20 years I would still be able to make changes for the better. I can always do better and while that is overwhelming on some days, it is empowering on other days because I have the power to change one decision at a time.
Once again you’ve put into words what so many of us are thinking.
It’s a frustrating time for so many of us. I was just at the grocery store and couldn’t help but point out the irony of people wearing masks and gloves with carts filled with pop, Doritos and bleach. Where did we go wrong?
As I stare at the plastic bags I had to bring home and the scent of hand sanitizer lingers, I find some hope in this post. I know what side of the future I’ll be on.
Great post and words of wisdom. Thank you for caring and thank you for taking the time to share your truth! I will share the blog in hopes of your words influencing my circle and rippling out from there.
Hi Meghan, thank you so much for voicing my thoughts on this. I am so passionate about playing my part as a health coach to help get the message out there. I am grateful for my training as I am so much more knowledgeable about mental, emotional and physical health. I know we are up against it but if enough of us can play our part and lead by example, could we perhaps help tip the balance and encourage a new normal way of life? I hope so.
Such a great post Thanks Meghan!
Thanks for re-sharing this today Meghan! I have hope that we’ll look back six months from now and be able to say that we chose to make our underlying health and wellness a key priority. As a society, we haven’t reached that place in this moment. I believe the courage and leadership you’ve been demonstrating, in sharing what you know, will help to get us there :)
Thank you so much for writing this Meghan. It touched me deeply…