I woke up this morning to the sight of the sun glistening off the lake behind my home and my heart was instantly filled with a profound gratitude for the simple beauty of the world around us. So often our thoughts are focused on personal hardships, world catastrophes or the difficult circumstances that surround us – that we can allow ourselves to feel listless and defeated – but to succumb to that stance is to underestimate the amazing power of the human spirit. Yes, our world faces some daunting challenges – but if you widen your view enough to see the whole picture, you can’t help but be encouraged and inspired by some of the positive action that is going on around us.
Innovative Leaps Forward
People are thinking creatures. We have been endowed with the ability to evaluate information, create a plan of action and put those solutions into effect. Because we “don’t know what we don’t know” there really is no limit to the scope of what we can accomplish. The ideas of flight, internet communication and open-heart surgery were all, at one time, impossible – but are now commonplace in our society.
Popular Science just released a list of the Best Inventions for 2014, and while each is wonderful, one can’t help but wonder why we didn’t come up with these ideas sooner. Some of these innovative new discoveries are:
A collapsible bike helmet strong enough to protect you from potentially fatal head injuries – while fitting easily into backpack or storage compartment.
A syringe filled with rapidly expanding sponges, treated with anti-infection agents and a coagulant, that can be inserted into a wound to keep a patient from bleeding out – and buy them valuable time to receive life-saving treatment.
An exo-skeleton (a type of robot-suit) that can offer each of us enough super-human strength to perform tasks that were previously only the domain of fork-lift equipment.
It’s amazingly exciting to see that we have not reached our limits with regards to innovation.
Knowledge gives us Power
While some might prefer to bury their heads in the sand with regards to our current challenges, doing so doesn’t make them go away. The key is to remember that we’ve faced problems before and overcome them – so why should this be any different? Knowledge is power. When we can remove the emotional reactions and instead think in terms of solutions – we literally can change the world.
People are the change-makers. There’s a new show on Showtime called Years of Living Dangerously that is outlining some of these challenges with the help of celebrities like Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ian Somerhalder. Hollywood has long used their platform to help create spotlight on issues of importance, knowing that there truly is power in numbers. As more of us step up to make the sometimes small but powerful changes needed – positive change begins to grow exponentially.
Positive Change is happening
Solutions are all around us. All it takes is becoming informed of the issues at hand, brainstorming a list of possible solutions, and then putting a little man-power and energy behind those ideas – and millions of people are doing just that every day. I worked as the Science Writer for SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Entertainment Parks for a time, and despite whatever feelings one may have about zoos in general, I can tell you that the people who devote their lives to animals and animal welfare have the best of intentions. This particular organization provides millions of dollars each year to a Conservation Fund that enables hundreds of worthwhile organizations to provide protection to threatened species all over the world.
Take the cheetah for example, by some estimates only 7500 remain in the world today, but there are many people who are doing their part to make sure that this species doesn’t go down without a fight. These organizations promote awareness programs in schools (since children are our future leaders) and teach farmers predator friendly farming practices. One exciting program supplies African farmers with Anatolian shepherd dogs to guard and protect livestock, reducing the need to harm cheetah who are simply following their natural instincts.
Want to know what’s being done to protect your favorite animal? I created a searchable database of some of these amazing programs. Check it out here.
Down but not Out
It’s inspiring and empowering to know that, despite all the negative news we’re bombarded with every day, there are real plans in place to create viable solutions. This is an amazing world that we live in. And although mankind’s presence has placed some considerable burdens on the ecosystem – I also believe that we are completely capable of developing ways to peacefully co-exist with the world around us. All it takes is for each of us to devote a little time, attention and energy to the things that matter most – honoring life, the preservation of our natural resources, and an appreciation of the glorious planet that we call home.
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Marci Wise is the award-winning author of Pain, Passion & Purpose. Copyright © 2014 marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address.