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John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
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Think Globally, Act Locally

Think globally, act locally. - Anonymous

Moving one step beyond personal/familial wellness issues, we come face-to-face with our responsibility for the neighborhood, the city or town, the county, the state, and the country in which we live. One vote does make a difference! And many votes can make a bigger difference. The more we express consciousness and accountability in our own lives, the more we will see and enjoy our interdependence with one another. A beginning may be as simple as getting to know who our neighbors are, which easily extends to working together in protecting our shared, local environment from overdevelopment and pollution.

Beyond participating in our local community, the awareness that planet Earth is a finite entity can strengthen our willingness to conserve resources and energy. About 20 percent of the world's population uses 80 percent of the planet's resources, much of it very wastefully. The other 80 percent of the population have noticed this wastefulness, as we've made our consumerism obvious via our TV and movies, which are seen by more people in other countries than in our own. They want the same standard of living that we have. It's doubtful that the planet can support that much waste, so it's up to us to start reducing our energy claims so that we are only taking our fair share.

We can see the consequences of our consumerism as we become aware of the planetary changes that affect everyone - for example, global warming, increased UV radiation from damage to the ozone layer, damage to the oceans and their plant and animal life, and the acid rain that kills forests.

There are many actions we can take: We can choose to downsize - to live in a smaller home (and to insulate it well and keep the thermostat cooler in winter and warmer in summer). We can choose to use public transportation or carpool to work; to plan ahead when we go shopping to avoid extra trips. We can ask Do I really need this?" before making a purchase; we can buy products that are not unnecessarily disposable or wastefully packaged. We can act on the fact that it is much more effective to reduce, rather than to reuse or recycle. Once we begin to view our daily decisions in the light of our awakening sense of responsibility, we learn that almost every individual choice we make is a choice for the rest of humanity as well. When we make our choices with this level of awareness and responsibility, we are promoting planetary wellness.

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