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Healthy Living: Finding hope in unlikely places

We are witnessing, on the multiple screens of life, a hostility toward the planet and to each other, which is without precedent. ~ Robert Skender

Feelings of deep-seated pessimism might be the proportional reaction to our world’s current dire situation. We are witnessing, on the multiple screens of life, a hostility toward the planet and to each other, which is without precedent.

This absence of love and empathy has literally poisoned the air we breathe and has left large amounts of the water we drink unfit for consumption, all the while rendering the planet we occupy in a near catastrophic scenario.

If you are like me and your genetic or neurobiological self is extra sensitive to influences from negative places in our environment, you might need to search for a source of positivity with a sense of purpose. It is possible to find a balance between being burdened by too much information and being ignorant to a point of general apathy.

Apathy, or completely not caring, is somewhere you might visit but should not stick around. It is a cold and foreboding place where nothing good ever happens.

There are beams of sunshine to be felt while shifting through the clouds of digital clutter. I see hope, however faint, for the planet in the movement and energy of some young folks.

People born in this century and earlier who are choosing not to accept the systems and values which have left an almost unlivable world for them to inherit. They are attempting to wake us up from the world of military industrialism, which has led to degradation and destruction of the only planet we know of that can sustain human life.

There is accumulating evidence that our complete lack of stewardship of this planet is starting to inspire global protest, sprouting up like a field of sunflowers in a polluted dystopian landscape of ashes. 

It is my love for Vincent van Gogh and his beautifully textured 1886 painting of yellow sunflowers that caught my attention. At the Art Gallery of London, 21-year-old Phoebe Plummer and 20-year-old Anne Holland risked their personal safety and freedom by throwing cans of tomato soup at the $40 million painting then, subsequently, gluing their hands to the museum’s walls to give the activists more time to communicate their younger, and somehow somewhat wiser perspective.

What is the point of staring at a 140-year-old, $40-million painting while we are making the planet uninhabitable due to old fossil fuel habits and accompanying global warming. Further to that, the cost of living has risen globally, leaving millions of people without the ability to feed and clothe themselves with dignity.

There is a small, very courageous segment of the young generation who are yelling for our attention to wake up and start questioning the values which form the footings of the present corrupt and unsustainable systems.

The van Gogh painting was under glass and unharmed while the message was communicated and picked up by news services around the world. Younger people’s acts of protest need to be wildly creative to get their desperate message about a dying planet and criminal economic global banking systems out.

Much closer to home, an independent climate action protester walked onto the stage of the 40th Junos, the Canadian music industry awards, topless with anti-climate change slogans written on her body. It was an effective way to communicate the urgency of the message while not being lost in the useless information which clutters our minds in a continuous news cycle.

Young people not accepting the terms of the world we are leaving them is what the world needs now. That friction is uncomfortable and could create awkward, even antagonistic situations, but it is definitely the place where hope for humanity resides.

Robert Skender is a qathet region freelance writer and health commentator.