We Hippies live near Toledo, OH and Handsome Hippie Hubby works there. Last week we witnessed what happens when world comes to a screeching halt for nearly half a million people when an algae bloom on Lake Erie contaminated the city’s water supply. Residents of the city and many surrounding communities (thankfully not ours) were told not to drink, or even touch, the water coming out of their taps.
This was the first time Toledo was shut down in that way, but the underlying issue with Lake Erie has been a topic of concern for environmentalists for years. Harmful algae blooms are becoming an increasing issue around the world. They are toxic to humans and cause immense damage to the ecological balance of the area they grow in. Algae is a natural thing, of course, but this is nature run amok. It is caused by a variety of issues from sewage in the water to chemicals from industrial dumping but the primary problem is run-off from industrial agriculture and lawn chemicals.
When the news broke and we began learning what was happening and why, Handsome Hippie Hubby made a comment that went something like this, “How can this be happening? Everyone seems to be becoming so much more aware of the importance of mindful living and then you hear about things like this.”
I didn’t have an answer. But it caused me to start thinking. Is it true that everyone is becoming aware of the importance of mindful living?
A few months ago I heard the term, “confirmation bias.” This is the idea that you tend to find support to back up the ideas you already have. The more deeply entrenched your beliefs are, the more likely you are to find reasons to keep believing.
Taken a step further, we create a world for ourselves that supports our beliefs. If you are a Protestant and a Republican you will go to church and meet other Protestants. You will work with other Republicans to support your candidates. You make friends within that framework. You build networks within those groups. It begins to feel like EVERYONE is a Protestant and a Republican. Confirmation bias such as this can be so powerful that it can be baffling, or even offensive, when you meet someone who is of a different religious or political belief system. How can they believe THAT when it’s SO CLEAR that everyone else believes something else?
So I began to wonder. Is it true that “people” are becoming more aware of the importance of mindful living or have there always been a group of people who felt that it was important and now that our family is beginning to think as they do we are being assimilated into that tribe?
Because WE think it’s vitally important to consume less and tread lightly upon the earth, to seek peaceful resolution to conflict, and to live in right relationship with our Creator and our neighbors are we simply surrounding ourselves with others who believe as we do? Or is it possible that little ripples of change really are coursing through our society?
It’s “What Do You Think? Wednesday” and I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Do you think that, as a whole, people (Americans? “Western” cultures? Humans everywhere?) are placing more importance on the environment and our connection to the planet and each other? Is the human race just plodding along as it always has with some feeling one way and others following a different path? Or are “the crunchies” the weird minority?
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!