Act Before It's Too Late
A local swim hole I grew up with shut down this summer. It's not the first and it won't be the last. It's a minuscule example of the opportunity we each have everyday to take care of each other and our planet. There's been a lot of local chatter about the whole thing:
Why did someone have to post about it in the newspapers?
Why did people plaster it all over social media?
Who owns the river?
Our kids and families have a right to access our rivers...
It's not fair to the locals...
The problem I see is that most of the chatter is either aggressive or defensive. Most of it is unproductive and most of it misses the point that we all had an opportunity to speak up when there was a problem, not after the problem got out of hand. I enjoyed the swim hole 4-5 times this year. Twice I carried out bags of litter others left behind. I could have done so much more, we all could have.
Long before we lost access to to the river we could have opened more conversations. A few did, but many remained silent. I was one of them. We live in a culture that teaches us that someone else will take care of it, that it's always someone else's responsibility. We knew the swim situation was getting our of hand, and instead of taking action most of us complained. Most of us watched a drinker or two abuse the space; most of us watched a car or two park where it shouldn't have; most of us never called the police or the landowners to ask, "How can we help?" "What can we do?"
This tiny swimming hole example repeats itself over and over as our earth and our people are suffering and calling for help. I talk to my clients daily about living purposefully and intentionally. I talk to them about the power of gratitude. I talk to them about how to bring awareness to their thoughts and desires. I talk to them about how to take care of themselves, so they can be of service to others. I know I'm doing good job, but I also know I can do more. I can get even more involved in being a problem solver and a change maker, and the time is now.
Things I wish I had done before the swimming hole was closed down, and actions I wish I had taken to keep the river accessible for my kids and their kids:
Reach out to the police and ask what could be done
Write a note to the landowners thanking them for access and asking about solutions
Tell the drunk teens what I was actually thinking
Hand other guests a bag and ask them to clean up with me
Be more active on social media about protecting local swim holes
Call media sources and asked them not to publish swimming locations that are not public
NOT assume someone else would take care of it