Originally published as a column in NewsKamloops on December 4, 2015. 

BeautyIt was cold on Sunday. Midday came with gifts of sunshine as over one hundred people gathered for the Climate Rally at Riverside Park. Not a big crowd by many people’s standards, but enough to make a dent of some sort.

Among lots of green paper hearts with inspiring messages directed to the City Council, and people smiling as they had green hearts painted on their cheeks (or noses), hope reigned supreme.

Indeed, there is something about that recognition of a need to act together towards the greater good if the greater good is to be achieved at all. There is no question that the road is a bumpy one; global well-being is a tall order. Yet what choice do we have?

It has come to the point in time when we can no longer push the dirt under the rug and pretend the day can be filled with happy thoughts only (hope is happy, come to think of it, isn’t it?) but we have to take the proverbial bull by the horns and act.

In face of a challenging world climate, environmental, social and political, the one logical thing to do is to approach the said bull not individually but together. Strength is in numbers, and to that I’d add that inspiration and courage are as well. from times past until today, the concept of togetherness is one that helps build bridges where bridges have never been built and helps us climb mountains that any of us individually would find impossible to climb.

It felt good to see that on Sunday. Frozen feet and noses notwithstanding, a great heart was formed on the shores of the quiet, old-as-the-world Thompson River, and the rally ended with smiles. Now for the actual work.

Yes, as good and fuzzy the feeling, there’s lots of work ahead. Rally or not, the world is still warming up and that’s bad, but also good because we can use the heat in more constructive ways. Species are still disappearing (some faster than others) and yet there’s a heap of good people out there striving to share the word on saving them, starting petitions and raising awareness, adding clarity to our view of the world like never before.

There are many acute issues in the world. From climate-related to multiple war-plagued areas and the resulting humanitarian crises, clarity is perhaps what we need to acknowledge that unless we tackle them together, neither will be properly fixed.

The Paris-derived ‘Keep it in the ground’ campaign is the very case in point. India’s PM has launched an international solar alliance of over 120 countries, many of them developing countries where some of the people will go from no power to solar power and all the benefits that electricity brings along.

Environmental issues and poverty can be solved as the complex interwoven problem they have become. Killing two birds with one shot, except that in this case we would be fixing the said birds with one cure. That could save future unrest and maybe even wars.

It would not be boasting if we were to say that we’re witnessing history being made these days. Big in how we invest ourselves in saving the world and its people too. Big in how we make compassion and responsibility stand out, big in how big our hearts grow as we hold onto each other in order to breathe new life into the togetherness concept.

In times of unrest, whatever the nature of it is, usually more than one as everything is connected after all, finding solutions is an act of courage and a reminder that uniting over big warm-hearted purposes gives meaning to life itself, saving it at the same time.

Then again, big goals can appear intimidating at first. Which is why pursuing change in small steps and fixing the world, mindset-wise, starts in our own backyard.

BC has again, and infamously so, placed first on the child poverty list in Canada. This year again, 1 in 5 children in British Columbia are living below the poverty level. That is unacceptable. There is no sugar coating for this one.

In the days of thrift stores bulging with used items, landfills inundated with usable things and still lots of food finding its way in the garbage, the only word that can describe the situation, much to our shame, is “unacceptable”. Unacceptable indeed.

But many good deeds happen as there are many people putting money, time and consideration towards addressing the problem. It goes without saying that the provincial government has to step up to the plate and do the hard work on that end too.

Things are changing and for the better. Having knowledge is where we start. So let’s consider us walking the path already.

We can do it. Change how we treat the environment, put food on children’s plates and offer low-income families (single parents too) the gift of dignity. Address mental issues, understand the needs of those affected in our community and country-wide and press on to help war and disaster-affected people, the millions of them: those effected by the crisis in Syria and Iraq, those without homes and little food in Nepal, the tens of thousands in Sudan who are on the brink of famine.

Kindness begets kindness and we are all better when that happens. A single drop that falls in a lake will create ripples that will travel farther then we see with our eyes. The same with kindness. Our world deserves it. We, as its people, deserve it too.

In keeping mindful we are not living in fear but in hope. In unity over goals that honour life as we know it in all its entirety, we become better. Humbly so.