I’m always impressed by people who try to make a difference, even if a small one. For example, the other day I was talking to a friend who said she doesn’t run water while brushing her teeth until she has to. Nothing big…but the right mindset.
Another friend who felt he drank too much bought a big house in Mpls. and men down on their luck can stay there if they’re not drinking or using and have a job. He and his partner try to get these guys on their feet and back with their families. Definitely cool.
Can you imagine the difference, especially a demographic, as large and, thus, powerful as millennials, could make? What if everyone did “something?” Picked a cause? No matter how small?
Let’s start with the Big Ten things the mill’s have identified as needing attention.
1) Climate change. This is on the top of the mill’s list and will prompt many more issues farther down the list.
2) Clean air and water (i.e., pollution). Related to #1, and let’s face it: we can’t live without either, and neither is getting cleaner… unless we do something to reverse what’s happening.
3) Education reform. I was happy to see this one on the list. You might mean something like “free post-secondary education,” which I agree with if we want real fairness and equality. Or you might mean student loan relief…which would be, at the least, somewhat solved as we move toward “free.” I mean: starting education at birth, after which, if we don’t pay attention, all kind of bad shit develops.
4) Waste. Glad to see you are aware of thin one, too. A huge problem that doesn’t get enough credit. Something has to change here. (It amazes me, for example, when I read how few people recycle. I mean it’s not too much to ask, really!? It’s “not giving a shit” that you must feel bad about?)
5) Violence. If every child has at least one caring adult in their life that reads to them and teaches them things like kindness, empathy, and trust, we’d pretty much end violence… in the U.S. That’s possible right now. The money is there, just not the priority. It would be sweet if this were true everywhere in the world as well. World peace? Possible with education.
6) Poverty. It’s a tough one involving social and political issues, as well as economic. In a capitalistic system, there will always be the rich and the poor. But, let’s just say, historically, when the divide between rich and poor gets too great, bad shit happens. Greed is not sustainable. As our spiritual leaders, such as the Pope and Dalai Lama, warn us: we have an obligation to take care of the earth and its peoples.
7) Racism. The millennials have already shown, as a demographic, they are more open-minded and tolerant to diversity than previous generations. Definitely cool in my book. Going in the right direction, it would seem, I hope, to most. Education could take care of the remaining racists in the future.
8) Inequality. Exists in many forms, but primarily in lack of economic opportunity…which is a direct result of the lack of equal educational opportunity. This is, of course, a problem world-wide, but at least in the U.S. we acknowledge our “right” for being treated equal. According to our constitution, we’re all born equal. If equality is not continually fostered in our lives, we need new leaders of our country…ones that uphold the constitution and ensure equal opportunity for all, not just the rich and powerful. Millennials will have a big impact on who our leaders are in the future and in demanding they do their jobs of working for the general good, not special interests.
9) Jobs. The mill’s, in general, have expressed a desire to work for companies that are inherently ethical and do “good” as well as “well.” This is huge. “Profit at any cost” is short-sighted and a huge threat to the future…especially the future of the mill’s and their children.
10) Xenophobia. Evil in the world has created a disturbing conundrum around the globe: what to do with displaced peoples. How to do the humanitarian thing and assimilate them into the peaceful countries of the world is a huge challenge…but one that must be met. We can’t reject them or send them away, they have to go somewhere. To put this in perspective, at least in the U.S., let’s look at a quote from comedian Pat Paulsen: “All the problems we face in the United States can be traced back to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian.”
[ More next week.]