The Challenge of Our Times: “Won World” or “One World”?

Carol A. Hand

I wonder how many of my blogging comrades feel compelled to write when there are too many other pressing responsibilities that need attention? Today is one of those times for me, but I know if I don’t honor this pressure in my heart to share, I won’t be able to focus and my day will be unproductive anyway.

As I was reflecting about how to challenge environmental threats from a positive frame, two contrasting metaphors flashed though my thoughts this morning: “won world” vs. “one world.” From my perspective, these are the clear alternatives we face. As I think about the never-ending wars over resource control and the costs for people and environments, the images that come to mind are fracking fields,

tar sands independentreport dot blogspot dot com

Photo Credit: independentreport.blogspot.com

oil spills,

oil spill examiner dot com

Photo Credit: oil spill examiner.com

world hunger,

world hunger schmidtgs2 dot wikispaces dot com

Photo Credit: schmidtgs2.wikispaces.com

smog-filled cities where people cover their faces with masks.

smog businessinsider dot com

Photo Credit: businessinsider.com

The list could go on. This seems to be the future vision of the powerful elite, a “won world” where the rest of us are merely pawns to be controlled or disposed of. It’s not the world I want future generations to inherit.

The alternative, “one world,” I picture as the earth seen from outer space — a lovely blue and green orb that is not divided by imaginary borders that separate humanity into nations – it’s the home we all share.

earth wordlesstech com

Photo Credit: wordlesstech.com

This is a vision worth working toward. I know it is one that is shared by my friends in the blogging community who have enriched my life with an incredible diversity of gifts, wisdom, and (com)passionate commitment to social justice.

As someone who has worked with communities to build new initiatives to address a wide range of issues, I know the first step is to identify the shared vision of community members and in partnership, frame a mission that inspires people to take on the hard work of transformation. It is too easy for opponents to divide people otherwise. So my contribution for the day is to share this brief essay with gratitude for all you do and all you have taught me. I look forward to hearing your ideas!

Chi Miigwetch (many thanks) for sharing your insights and inspiration.

One World One Song

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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About Carol A. Hand

What matters are not the titles I’ve held or university degrees I earned or the size of a house or bank account. It’s really what I’ve learned from ordinary people like me whom I’ve met along the way. They taught me to live with gratitude and give thanks for each new day.
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19 Responses to The Challenge of Our Times: “Won World” or “One World”?

  1. Jeff Nguyen says:

    “The alternative, “one world,” I picture as the earth seen from outer space — a lovely blue and green orb that is not divided by imaginary borders that separate humanity into nations – it’s the home we all share.”…the idea of a world without man-made borders is an intriguing one and, unbelievably, one I never considered for much of my younger life. It’s interesting how our minds assume that the way things are is the way things will always be,

    I think you would enjoy this interview with Howard Zinn on this topic if you haven’t read it already: http://www.ainfos.ca/06/may/ainfos00041.html

    Best to you, Carol.

    Liked by 2 people

    • carolahand says:

      Thank you, Jeff! I love Zinn’s description of the world he envisioned. He was such an outstanding scholar and activist, a man of courage and principle. His story about how he realized the costs of war is so powerful. And as his story points out, it is a challenge to imagine other possibilities for the world unless we have opportunities that cause us to question what we take for granted.

      There is cause to worry about the future given an educational system focused on forcing students to memorize discrete decontextualized facts to regurgitate on fill-in-the-blank standardized tests — like maps with lines that separate nations and capitals to memorize. (I’m glad I grew up in a different time — but it was one in which we needed to stand next to our desks facing the U.S. flag every morning before classes began and say the “Pledge of Allegiance” with our right hands over our hearts. I guess every generation has challenges to overcome.)

      But it gives me hope for the future to know that you are a teacher :-).

      Like

      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        Don’t get me started on the state of public education, Carol. 😉

        Btw, the Pledge of Allegiance ritual is still performed every morning in the public schools, at least in the elementary grades.

        Like

        • carolahand says:

          I’m sorry to hear the pledge is still part of education. And honestly, public education can’t be all bad with teachers like you :-)! II sometimes think learning is more likely to occur in contexts where contrasts are the most obvious…

          Like

        • carolahand says:

          I’m sorry to hear the pledge is still part of education, Jeff. And honestly, public education can’t be all bad with teachers like you 🙂 ! I sometimes think learning is more likely to occur in contexts where contrasts are the most obvious…

          Like

  2. Gator Woman says:

    Agree with every thing you say.
    It is so important for those who Blog to keep their priorities in order.
    The Issues that are so pressing in the Global Community today are for the most part Regional, so we become just a bit, me especially, selfish, in what we choose to address.
    I must try harder to include, not exclude.
    To me, trees and wildlife are a tragic loss, to someone with no food, nor home, not so much.
    Priorities.
    Working on it!

    Like

    • carolahand says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful and honest comments, Gator Woman. I’m working on thinking in more inclusive ways, too, the reason for exploring and posting my initial reflections as a foundation for dialogue. I am grateful to you for responding and sharing your insights!

      Like

  3. As someone who blogs about peace & justice, and serves as the peace & justice promoter for my community chapter, I have to filter through a lot of issues and injustices. It can become overwhelming and, for me, lead to depression & inaction (the deer in headlights syndrome). “The home we all share,” is my starting point. As Gator Woman suggests, I don’t want to be “exclusive” in what I address, but realistically I know that I cannot possible address every injustice. But, if I consider first that our world is a shared home, then my activism will naturally and freely flow in ways that are needed the most at any one time. Considering my gifts & using them wisely is also important. More “hope for the future,” Carol: Like Jeff, I, too, am a teacher! 🙂

    Like

    • carolahand says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Maria, and for sharing your experiences and insights. I can relate to your comment about the overwhelming futility that one can feel about injustice and incomprehensible cruelty in the world. I am bombarded by at least a dozen emails every day for causes that are important but framed in ways that are fear-based appeals to fight yet another “evil” villain. This post was my attempt to find hope-based ways to frame advocacy. And it does give me hope to know that you, like Jeff, are a teacher, as am I which is why my reply took so long. I had to run to class before I had a chance thank you for sharing your strategies for grounding your activism on a foundation of “hope for the future.”

      Like

  4. nicciattfield says:

    Hi Carol, some of my work at the moment is around environment and connection combined with Agency. See what you think of the Social Sculpture Research Unit at Oxford Brooks. I’m working on Agents of Change South Africa, so we’ll be going to the beach next weekend. You may like the work of Joseph Beuys who looks at spirituality, politics/privilege and humanism.

    Thanks so much for posting this though. Oh, there’s quite a lovely clip on YouTube called Mae Innini
    With Amazon Ensamble, where the old shaman sings about the messages the land brings…let us listen to our land, it speaks to us, it tells a story…moving stories of connectedness!

    This is such a beautiful post, Carol, thank you.

    Like

  5. I wish with all my heart that I saw our chances for hope increasing instead of decreasing – but I don’t and I can’t. How wonderful it would be to be wrong!

    We’re not shy about taking a stand against our standard enemies, because these usual suspects are well-established names on our Most Wanted lists. But we’ve proven how easily we’re influenced to conform to a consensus of other progressives, how reluctant to speak out until we can speak as a crowd, how ingrained our fear of standing up beside someone who stands alone, and how undeveloped our most strongly felt principles really are. In fact, there is nothing more certain to prevent us from helping a person under attack than the fact that she needs help. If she is surrounded by a crowd of supporters, we will rush to join. But if she stands alone, having risked all to give voice to a silenced community, everyone hesitates, waiting for everyone else.
    Four years later, they are still waiting.
    And that doesn’t bode well for the struggle ahead, however it plays out.

    Like

    • carolahand says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Claire. Having read a little about the challenges you have faced as a journalist who lost everything, I suspect you know all to well what the costs of “speaking truth to power” really are. Standing alone is the most difficult.

      I have been there, although in a much more modest way, and even though I did have allies, it was my voicemail that recorded messages to get the f**k out of town (https://carolahand.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/were-honoring-indians-2/). But I learned from standing alone how it felt, and when I can, I do stand with others. It has sometimes meant frequent career changes, but I don’t regret choosing integrity over the momentary illusion of comfort and security. In time, some of the issues were addressed in positive ways.

      For the sake of my students and grandchildren, I need to work toward a vision of a better world — I know many people share similar hopes. And when I read stories about people of principle like you who risk everything to stand up for social justice, it gives me hope that transformation is possible even though it will be met with repressive counterforce and may not happen in my lifetime.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, I agree that being willing to struggle means being prepared to take some permanent blows, with the understanding that resolution is not a possibility. Most people in the world don’t need to learn this lesson, indeed it’s too self-evident to consider separately for all but a privileged minority of white men.

        I’m not brooding about a job lost four years ago, however. I’m not seeking to draw energy from the present just to prove a point, and I wonder how I ever gave that impression.
        I am defending myself from an attack located very much in the present.It’s an ongoing process, not one I’m looking back on.

        Just today, in a classic and very familiar pattern, a supporter was contacted given damaging fabrications about me.

        ————————————————————–

        It’s the online equivilent of a public beating, and in a real sense, people who know I am innocent walk by every day and remain silent.I think stopping to help is a fine way of making this a happier world,

        If you want to wound a reporter, accuse him of drug smuggling, bank robbery, and kidnapping.
        If you want to kill him, call him a liar

        Worst of all is knowing just how quickly and easily my name and work could be restored. The violations were blatent, criminal, documented, careless and witnessed. ALL I have to do is get this proof where it must be acknowledged. A week of sustained public pressure would do the trick.
        So. What am I to think?
        How do I make sense of not deserving that much?

        Like

        • carolahand says:

          Thank you for sharing your feelings with such honesty, Claire. As I read your words, my heart is heavy because of the ongoing assaults and suffering you live with still. I truly wish there were something I could do to help and hope you will let me know how I can.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank-YOU for listening with your big heart.
    Peace,
    Claire

    Liked by 1 person

  7. cthebean says:

    Thinking about how to change the world..save the world…at least preserve some kind of life with a history of thinking…..somewhere

    Shared and stated goals…unity of purpose….courage…thoughtfulness…empathy

    Fierceness

    It’s not fair what has happened to Claire and it’s not fair what has happened to the people she reports for….

    Claire didn’t let others stand alone yet she stands alone.
    This means they continue to stand alone.
    I guess not really..but more need to come.
    More need to stand.
    Come stand with us.
    Claire does not stand alone.

    We live in a world that, if it were willing, if it even understood the possibility, could feed everyone….could offer medical relief to all that need it
    The technology exists…and the potential of humanity acting out of intellect, unity and passion is great.

    Shelter for all. For wolves and coyotes too. And bees.

    Jeff speaks of a moment when we flow over and out into the world from a gathering of compassion and righteousness that cannot be held back any longer. I think there will also need to be a spark..a fire..so we can see our way.

    We have to hold each other up and keep moving to the dance of life until that time.

    Solidarity from over here.

    –christine

    Liked by 1 person

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