I’m sorry I’ve been doing a lot of reposts – First i don’t have time and second, this is perfect for Earth day
Many campers, most backpackers and all Boy Scouts know the saying, “Leave the campsite better than when you found it.” That goes far beyond, “Take only pictures, leave only footprints,” since it involves actively doing good.
A slight variation of this phrase is a good bedrock of your personal philosophy, “Leave the Earth better than when you found it.” Like the scouting phrase, it involves a protective part, “don’t do harm,” and an active part, “do good.”
Like the scouting phrase, my phrase refers to the actual planet. We share the planet with so many, including those yet to be born and especially those who aren’t human, it is up to us to protect it. It needs to be a healthy place for all in five years, in five hundred years and in five million years. Why do so many people seem to think we are the last generation that needs the Earth? (*see note 1)
But it goes beyond the planet to our fellow humans. First, we must do no harm. We don’t kill people who look different from us, who act different from us or who have different beliefs. If we believe somebody is doing wrong, we can point it out but not act. If they are hurting others, yes, find a way to protect others, nonviolent if possible. For it is up to us to try to stop people from doing violence. Remember the message of, “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out, Because I was not a Socialist.” We can’t let it happen again.
But it is happening.
The other half of my scout’s phrase is the active part, we must do good. Can we sit idly by when our fellow humans suffer? Can we let our brothers starve? We are all in this together and so we must all help each other. How lonely life must be for those selfish people who don’t realize that simple statement! How lonely for anyone who doesn’t realize that all are our brothers and sisters! How lonely must the self-righteous be!
Isn’t it ironic that although the world’s religions all teach that we must help those in need, that we must hold our hand out to our brothers and sisters and yet the people who claim to be the most religious are the first to turn their backs on the needy and the first to harm others in the names of their religions? To say “Take not God’s name in vain” doesn’t mean that to say “goddammit” when you stub your toe is wrong, it means to say “I know God’s will better than you so I can dictate your actions” is pure evil. It means means killing in the name of religion is the greatest abomination against the religion.
A silly aside. In the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” the message isn’t necessarily “the world would be a poorer place without each individual”, the message is more “the more good we do the better the whole world becomes”. George Bailey gave of himself to help others throughout the movie. He was permanently handicapped for saving his brother, he put his dreams on hold to help his fellow town’s people. Quite simply, he had compassion. That is how he changed the world. We can’t all be George Baileys but if more of us tried a little harder perhaps the world would be a much better place.
Look back at your life. Is the world better because you’ve been here visiting? If not, what can you do to help?
There is one thing we can all be sure of, some day we will leave this world. It should be on all of us to ensure the world is a better place when we leave.
* Note 1 – That planet at the top of the page, see how small it is in that huge ocean of space! It is tiny! It is all we have.