We all live downstream
May 18, 2010 by bridgeout
I once saw a bumper sticker
“we all live downstream.”
I really liked that concept. It is so true on so many levels! Dumping in the stream one place pollutes the water for us all. Flicking a cigarette out the window along one mile on the road burns a whole lot of forest down that many people (and animals) used to enjoy.
Does this kind of idea apply to other areas of life? I was just thinking about this the other day. There is daily coverage about the most recent oil spill in the gulf
. The damage and effects seem so wide
spread, and yet so far
away… it can be easy to change the TV station and think “it doesn’t affect me”
… but then again, we all
The main thing I notice in the coverage of this environmental disaster
is that 99% of the energy is devoted to assigning blame.
Does that help? Does it work toward the clean up and healing of the land, plant, ocean and animal life? No. Does it make people feel better? It seems to. Seems to be a part of human nature–to be compelled to lay blame in the wake of any sort of disaster (global or individual).
Whatever we put out there–good energy, or pollution… it eventually trickles down stream–for better or worse. It may feel like it is freeing up our hands (or mind) at that given moment to dump trash in the river, or throw a cigarette out the window, or even put poisonous words out there to lash out at someone else when we are in pain… seeking even a precious few moments of relief by laying the blame. But in the end, the result is often the same… pollution, destruction, pain. It can all so very easy to let happen. I would
go out on a limb and say that at one point or another we have all
done some “polluting”… in one form or another. What can we do? Can a person go back and recover the refuse they may have dumped in a river, lake, stream or ocean? No. Can a person go back and reforest the state park that has burned down? No. Can a person go back and undo the damage their words have caused? Maybe. Words have meaning. And sometimes the heart is open to a “do-over,” and sometimes too much polluted water has flowed downstream, or too many trees have been leveled to ash… or too many tears have been shed.
I supposed in any of those instances all any of us can do is try to move from that point forward. To begin the long and often arduous work of the clean up. The tenacity and tedium of clean up is not what makes the evening news though, the blame game is. But even though there is no spotlight or pretension in the behind-the-scenes clean up work, there are many more dividends available in the long run vs. investing one’s energy in the blame game and ultimately coming up empty.