Where I live, we have neither electricity nor cars. We do not have access to the internet, and most of us think that we actually do not need it. We usually do not have money, although we are not poor. We have more food than we need. We talk to each other every day, we till our farms, we write proverbs, we discuss the meaning of life and the origin of man every day. We are a society full of life.
But times are changing. Nowadays the chief has a mobile phone, although he has to travel two ridges away and climb a hill in order to use it. Once a month he goes to the city to have it charged and serviced. We understand that this is one of your technologies that you would want us to use.
Our biggest invention here was when my third cousin invented a smoke to internet signal converter. This meant that we could easily send smoke signals to the internet, as your computers are designed to work like our smoke signals; using only two digits. And that is how you can read what I am writing today.
Why I am Reaching Out
Let me go straight to the point.
The world we live in is a world that is changing, and the change has a lot to do with you more than us. We have not changed much in the last 40000 moons, while you have really been changing in the last 1500 moon. It is common-sense that the changing people must be responsible for the changing world, and that is why all fingers are pointed at you.
Our rivers are drying. Strange diseases have come up. The air does smell. The rains do not come on time. When they come, they are usually angry.
Sometimes the heat becomes unbearable and this place does not feel like home anymore. We feel like we need to act urgently, but we do not know what to do. It feels like our world will collapse soon, and we can only helplessly watch as it collapses. What should we do?
We are not the Main Problem
Should we stop eating beef which we have been eating for the last 50,000 moons? We do not eat too much beef – it is very expensive. It is a delicacy that we enjoy only when celebrating a new moon. Besides, we keep cows primarily as a store of wealth, not to fatten them for slaughter. I hear that you have some tiny farms where you keep thousands of cows just to eat them. I think you are the problem here.
Should we stop using firewood, yet we have no other means to cook. We can opt to eat uncooked food, but that would erode the gains made in the last 10,000 moons concerning human nutrition. Fruit trees are also on decline, so the uncooked options keep dwindling. We need to use our firewood because we always grow new firewood every season. Besides, we only use dead trees as firewood.
Should we travel less? Most of us walk as primary means of transport. It keeps us fit. It makes transport possible because we do not have too many options. Someone suggested that we should share our travel errands, but this is something that we always. We don’t all go hunting; we send a small team. I think our travel has nothing to do with the changing world.
Should we cut on our consumption? Our existence has always depended on consuming just what is enough. We are always worried about tomorrow so we go into great depths to protect our tomorrow. At best, we only have enough. Most of the time, we struggle to make ends meet. The term luxury only refers to when we can sit and relax in the sun between the planting and weeding season. We do not consume too much.
But we can Still Help
There seems like there is little that we can do. That is why we are hoping that you can find a solution to what is happening, or even be the solution.
However, there is something else from your land that has reached our land. We have these beautiful containers and bags made from a material that burns. Our chief says that they are called plastics.
These things are convenient, more than the banana leaves that we use to wrap goods. They hold water easily. They can hold food. They can be used everywhere. When they get old, we throw them away or even burn them.
We have now come to learn that they are harmful, and nobody warned us about them. We have become addicted to them, at the expense of our biodegradable banana leaves. We are addicted, and it will take time to turn around the ship.
We have tried to get rid of these plastics but it is not easy. It will take time to reverse this. However, some of you are making this difficult. You want to send to us your used plastic stuff so as to transfer your guilt to us. This is not sustainable, and clearly, you are not making matters any easier for us.
We Can Work Together for a Better Us
While we are not like you, I am afraid that we will soon be like you in one or two generations. This change is inevitable, and I think we can work to make it tolerable for us.
I know you have gone through a lot, and it would be good if you help us avoid those pitfalls. We have a wise saying over here that if you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. We would want you to walk with us so that we can avoid.
How about you help us to be like you without taking the paths that you have taken? We would want access to better and reliable food without harming the planet. We would want a fuel source that is more energy dense, but one that does not harm the environment. We would want to move around the whole world – not just our small world – but without harming the world. We would want the convenience that we know your world offers, but in a good way.
How can we achieve this? We do not have that figured out yet. We know you know a lot more than us, and we could learn from your experience. Help us to go through the change without making it cost too much. Help us go through the change without making it feel like we are cattle being guided by a herdsman. Tone down your expectations, so that it does not cost us too much. You can still make some profits though.
With your help, we can have a resilient modern future. We can reverse the problems that we are starting to see. We can have the same beautiful world that our grandparents tell us about. I think there is more that can happen, and you know it better than us. Are you willing to hold our hand?
Hoping to hear from you soon.