Relax and be inspired
Most people want to be engaged one way or another for the common good, but there is so much to do these days and on so many fronts that it can easily seem overwhelming. Before we speak of One Home Planet, here are a few considerations to put things back in perspective about being an activist.
First, contrary to the usual conditioning from school and work, how much or how little you do is not important. The quality of your intent is. Just listen to great pioneers of social and political change such as Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, or Nelson Mandela. Their fight was not to fix what was broken around them; their fight was to understand why it was broken in the first place, in order to repair it for good. This is the difference between being the righteous one whose moral crusade will very likely end up in frustration and, as Gandhi famously put it, being yourself the change you want to see in the world. Action is indispensable, but getting busy doing the right thing will never provide the meaning you seek in your life. And only this meaning will be your legacy to others; without it, all your actions are like a pile of dust. Another true and very successful activist, the Vietnamese monk Thich Nath Han, said: “The way out is in.” His friend MLK never said anything else.
Another common misconception about activism is to believe that all issues have their own specific roots and must, therefore, be dealt with separately. In that perspective, trying to save the Monarch butterfly from extinction has nothing to do with preventing gun violence. Actually, it does. If the world is in such social, economic, environmental, and political disarray today, this is precisely because all issues are related in some way. Our collective problems are not accidental; they are structural, as well as they all stem from the same basic greed, ignorance, and fear. Whether you fight to preserve biodiversity, against income inequality, for a Green New Deal, or against racism and xenophobia, you climb the same mountain as others, only from a different side.
At a more personal level, what inspires you the most is where you have to be. Not one issue is less important than others since what is indeed important is that you can give the best of yourself. Besides, when you harass your representative about the cruelty against animals, for instance, it reminds her of our true dignity as human beings. Who could say they have more important things to care about?
Three thoughts, in conclusion, to definitely ease your mind:
- Even though there are more central issues revolving, notably, around politics, doing good where you are and at your level makes you a prime activist.
- Whatever cause you choose, the main thing is to just show up. All we need is each others’ support.
- Let’s simply remember that it all works from the ground up, never the other way.
Is One Home Planet your activist website?
OHP is dedicated to critical mind building. How does this specifically relate to your engagement as an activist?
You see, there are two very different ways of minding the common good: one is to actually educate yourself to better help changing things, the other is to have a ready-made answer to better ignore the issues at hand. One is open to the risk of critical thinking, the other cuddles into its own conservative and empty assumptions, making God, or the market, or whatever almighty principle, the absolute remedy to our collective ailments. All that is is an excuse to say that you don’t care, either because you are afraid or because you are cynically indifferent.
For those who look for more than an emotional fix in their interaction with the world, One Home Planet provides the opportunity to cultivate their innate ability to think. Each article strives to be a template of this arduous and uncertain but highly rewarding process. You are simply invited, consequently, to discover how good you genuinely are in taking part in the debate.
Sure enough, this is not activism in the common sense of organizing or demonstrating. But being able to say what it actually is that you say and why you say it is a crucial part of your activism, and certainly the first thing you need as a concerned citizen. OHP, in that sense, might very well be an activist website of choice for you.
By the same token, it is not only about you and I. The discussion has to be as widely shared as possible. If you are willing to help, you can spread the word about One Home Planet in three basic ways:
- Share the contents on social media while you read them;
- Write personal recommendations to your friends and family;
- Make a public announcement to an organization you belong to.
Without word of mouth, no opinion blog like this one can survive. Make sure to act today!
Financing independent media
It is being said that money is a byproduct of success and I think this is true. It is far more important for me to welcome new readers thanks to your recommendation than to receive your cash straight away.
Now, consider this. We live in strange times. An independent press has all but gone in the U.S. as well as in many countries around the world. Cable TV and established newspapers are mostly financed by advertising money, which, naturally, gives them a very strong incentive to auto-censure themselves. More generally, as a prominent politician has said, “multinational conglomerates that own our media are not interested in analyzing the power of big-money interests, or the needs of working families.”1 None of these outlets can and will go against the gravy train of corporate money they depend upon. This creates a culture of devoted superficiality and complacency, a world view in line with their own preservation as corporate media.
This business model has obviously signed the death of investigative journalism. The only space for freedom and integrity in respect to professional press standards, consequently, is now the internet. In some ways, we are back to the situation of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, before the advent of mass advertising and the prepotency of behemoth “news” conglomerates. It is up to the content providers to prove themselves by the quality of their work if they want to earn your support and thrive publicly. In other words, if you want an independent press you have to pay for it.
Many online alternative channels, whether in print, audio, or video, already do a great and useful job. If you think that One Home Planet is part of this landscape, then it makes sense to help the website exist. You can do it here.