You Represent Our Planet

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I was reading an interview with Maya Angelou this morning.  In answer to a question about black writers being influenced not only by race but by circumstances, these words jumped off the page and grabbed me:

“Our grandmothers and great grandmothers and grandfathers and uncles and fathers told us, ‘You’re the best we have.’  …In my generation one was told, ‘You represent the race.’ And my goodness that was a piece of a burden, and a wonderful chore, a wonderful charge.”

It made me wonder: What if we told every child that same thing, every day – not about any particular race, not even about the human race, but about our whole planet?

What if every day we encouraged every child to feel, “You represent our planet”?

And what if we each felt that for ourselves?  What would that make possible?

5 Responses to You Represent Our Planet

  1. I think this demonstrates, or perhaps envisions, how important the interconnectivity principle is. Everything is connected to everything else. Hildy said something like this – or maybe even that exact sentence – in “The Pollyanna Principles”. (I can’t get the italics to work, and I’m sure I didn’t write it in APA format!) If you drill things down to their very basic elements, what helps or hinders one thing will also help or hinder other things. I think the theory of six degrees of separation also comes into play, in that we’re all responsible – to an extent – for others, even if it is just setting a positive example.

  2. I think that’s an awesome way to put it. As a sustainable business consultant who works with companies trying to connect with the broader world about their green offerings, when you can bring things down to a personal level rather than a macro, non specific, people grab on to that. And when people stop thinking that “others” will take care of it (the government, the companies, the people down the street) and start seeing themselves as the ones that are in charge of and playing a part in their environment, that’s powerful.

  3. What a wonderful cross-over between my consulting to the community benefit sector, and my fantasy/science fiction reading and music! In many SF stories, someone has “first contact” with an alien – each being at that time the representative of their home planet! They don’t know what gestures are considered friendly, unfriendly, offensive or come-ons. How they manage to communicate, or not, may lead to new partners in the universe or all-out war and an end to humanity.

    So finding a way to communicate in some positive way could lead on either side to tremendous advances in science and medicine, or access to wonderful new forms of art and culture, or protection from some galactic evil, or a new home world when the current one is dying. So much is possible!

  4. Thanks, everyone! Liz, it’s nice to see you here! And Paul, yes absolutely – that question is so critical in every aspect of creating a healthy, vibrant planet – “How can we instill in our children and in each other that deep sense of personal responsibility to take action?”

    Rebecca and Jane, I am loving the thought that representing the planet means “to and with each other.” How do we communicate in a way that honors that connectivity?

    As always, you guys keep my thinking moving forward!!
    HG