A few weeks ago, I had an in-depth conversation with a good friend of mine. We stood near a pit filled with glowing embers from a warm campfire. Enormous, majestic trees stood on all sides of the camp site. The din of campers enjoying each others’ company rose above the crackling of the dying embers. Up above, millions of stars glistened and twinkled brightly against the dark expanse of space. The scene was set for invigorating conversation.
My friend takes a huge interest in computers and technology. Everytime we speak, I find myself amazed by what advances have been made. He’s up on all the TED videos, into programming, and his excitement for the future of technology is clear from his animated and fast-moving lips. Yes, I look at his lips a lot when we talk.
So we got to talking about technology and the direction the human race is headed. The conversation started off by talking about Ishmael. Great book.
As we took off with the conversation, I began by asking how long we humans can really keep up this rouse. This rouse where we take limited resources as if they were unlimited. I asked how we could imagine living in a world we we pollute and trash wherever we can. Great garbage patches swirl through the earth’s oceans, and many of the deep waters are over-fished. Animals and insects go extinct each month as we create more food for ourselves. Seem too outrageous? Maybe, until we consider that swaths of the Amazon rainforest are cut down to make grain to feed cows which serve as meat for us to consume.
So in his response, he mentioned that we as humans will find a way. We have in the past, and will again. He had some good points. With the use of technology, we’re able to accomplish so much more utilizing less and less. He pointed a single finger towards the vast expanse above and asked if we could ever utilize all the resources out there. He’s right, I thought.
Yet something felt off. I mentioned that to make the technology, it takes more and more resources. In the iPhone, the production of each individual phone utilizes hundreds of pounds of CO2 emissions. With each new release, Apple fan people throw out the old in anticipation of the new.
So my friend turned again to technology. We’re on the brink of developing systems to combat this destruction. One of the exciting new developments includes vacuums to filter out the CO2 in the air and alter it’s chemical state or put it back into the ground.
Then it hit me. I looked around. The trees swayed gently in the breeze, ancient and wise.
The trees already filter the air. They turn CO2 into oxygen. Then they reproduce. They provide homes for birds, insects and other wildlife. When a trees passes, it falls and the forest decomposes it, utilizing the nutrients for more life. Nature has all of the solutions we search for.
Things began to clear for both of us. We, as a race, tend to work for solutions to the problems we create by using our hands. We use our hands to research technology to battle greenhouse emissions for instance. Yet, what if what we need is to take our hands off and back up a little bit?
I propose that we each find one way we can scale back. As Bruce Lee once said, “Simplicity is the key to brilliance.”
Tomorrow, how about we try sitting down for 5 minutes and write down a few ways we can do so? For example, I could stop eating meat for a day each week, take a fork and spoon from home to save plastic trash, or buy a water bottle. Pick one and act on it. Feel free to let me know how it goes, and as always, thank you so much for reading.