With the president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, I am seeing many of my friends in conflict with one another or at least on opposite sides of the issue. From my perspective, I see that their priorities are different. This is the root of the disagreement.
For those who support the Paris Agreement, the issue is the well-being of the earth and peering into the future—the well-being of the human family. For those who support the president’s actions, the issue is the well-being of their fellow Americans who need good jobs. (Please note: There are now more jobs in the clean/renewable energy sector which supports a clean environment than there are jobs in the fossil fuel sector. Apparently, alternative energy is good for business, and as you will see, it is a step toward our common destiny.) In addition there is the issue of money being spent to support the accord and questions about other country’s sincerity in abiding by the accord.
I hope I have represented the priorities of my friends accurately; however, there is a question that is foremost in my mind. “Where is spirituality taking us?” Is there a common destiny for the human family? We are so different—different languages, skin color, religions, heritage, lifestyle, what we wear, what we eat, etc. With so many differences, can there be a common destiny?
Long ago we banded together in tribes, then city-states and eventually nations. Is there a next step? Will we one day function as a global family? Is this our common destiny? I suspect it is because as creations of God, we are one family. It is sometimes difficult to comprehend this when the appearances proclaim our differences.
I believe our destiny is not nationalism; it is not globalization—it is one world, one spiritual family, one common destiny, the view that touches astronauts as they peer at the borderless earth below them.
There are times when our steps take us in the direction of our common destiny. Two examples are the League of Nations and the United Nations. Admittedly, they were and are flawed, but they are evidence of a movement toward a common destiny.
And then there is the Paris Agreement on climate change…Unprecedented. Imagine nearly every nation of the world feeling the tug of our common destiny, united in an effort that acknowledges the earth is our home; a home we are to collectively care for. And then our president withdrew from the accord. It is one thing to not participate, but to withdraw is another matter.
With the act of withdrawal, the premise of a common destiny is diminished. American international leadership is damaged. If you believe an agreement is flawed, it is counter productive to withdraw. You stay and affect change. And it is interesting that American mayors, governors, CEO’s of companies and other leaders have already chosen to ignore the “leadership” of our president and to affirm through continuing action a “common destiny.”
And here’s another ingredient for debate. Friends, let our motivation and actions not be determined by the predicted negative effects of climate change. There is something much greater moving in us, and it has been at work in us since we discovered fire—our common destiny—driven by the truth we are one family. So we act not because we fear the future, but because we want to realize the common destiny of a united human family.
During the recent presidential campaign and months following the election, I observed Mr. Trump and his actions. There is much I can say and will say in the future, but for now two things are evident to me. First, he is a businessman. He values profit and efficiency leading to profit. This fits nicely with our consumer society and its pursuit of good paying jobs. Jobs are personal, and they are tied to our self-worth and the well-being of our family. Secondly, he lives in a world of winners and losers. I suspect from his perspective the greatest insult that can be said of another human being is that she or he is a loser. How often have we heard our president speak of a citizen he is to serve as a loser.
Let us not forget these two aspects of the consciousness of the man. They are in full operation. In fact, this understanding can help us predict actions he will take and things he will say.
The challenge is that these qualities of consciousness blind an individual to the common destiny, and to fail to see the possibilities of one world family leaves one unable to get in step with the onward stride of God.
Our destiny does not lie with nationalism and a return to the mentality of the tribe…what is best for the tribe. The common destiny demands that we ask what is best for the human family. In defense of our president, there are not many of these people of vision. Obviously, he is not such a visionary. He is a businessman who lives in a world of winners and losers.
Here is the good news—as leaders abdicate their responsibility to walk in step with the onward stride of God toward the common destiny, new leaders rise. Common people like you and I will not waver. We never forget our common destiny.
These new leaders are emerging. They see a need, they are conscious of the possibility of the destructive impact of humanity upon the earth, but need and rising seas do not motivate them. Consciously or unconsciously, they feel the gentle pull of a common destiny, and they are willing to stand up, stretch out their hands and point toward it. They will hold this pose until heads turn and eyes focus on what lies ahead for the human family—a common destiny.