common wealth

20 05 2008

I have a secret when it comes to the news. Usually when I drive to work with the radio on – CBC 1 or 2 because I don’t have the patience for commercials – the news comes on and I turn it off. Yes, I am someone who likes to consider myself informed and aware, but I turn the news off. Most times I can’t take it. My heart pounds when I listen to climate change stories, it gets war-torn up with stories of countries plotting against each other, and it bleeds when I hear about cyclones and earthquakes and drought-stricken countries. And don’t ask me about the polar bears. I bawl on cue when they land up in the news.

I hate this about myself. But when the news comes on, and I hear stories like that, I grow weak and feel powerless and lose my will to move forward – even when moving forward includes positive changes that help battle these calamities. So I turn the news off instead.

These past few weeks though, I’ve been reading Common Wealth by Jeffrey Sachs, as part of the Be a Bookworm Challenge over at Green Bean Dreams. Now when the news comes on, the horrifying details don’t drag me down. Instead there is a bigger picture that comes through it all. Mr. Sachs explains with startling simplicity, how the things that weigh heavy on my heart are all connected. Before I just knew enough to say that we are all connected, now I see direct links. Mr. Sachs is helping me to understand how overpopulation, climate change, and extreme poverty, among other things, are just different sides of the same coin.

So, only halfway through the book and already it seems clear to me – our common fate as a planet. I took that line right from his book. It echoes within me as I listen to the news these days.

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5 responses

20 05 2008
Green Bean

I’m so glad you are enjoying this book. It was a real eye-opener for me. Not just in an environmental way but in a political and global way. I just didn’t see all those connections before, didn’t understand the importance or the politics. I feel like my thinking grew up as I read this book.

21 05 2008
gillian

I’m reading it thanks to you, Green Bean. Thanks so much for the suggestion!

21 05 2008
hyd

i like this post gill. gonna look that book up and add it to my summer reading list!

3 06 2008
i’m still a bookworm « hit pay dirt

[…] 3 06 2008 I tried for the finish line with Green Bean Dream’s Bookworm Challenge, I really did… but in the end I didn’t make it. Thank goodness Green Bean Dreams has extended the […]

16 06 2008
bookworm update « hit pay dirt

[…] before bedtime, but for me this book has changed the way I understand my surroundings. Listening to the news has become bearable, choosing which actions to take is easier, and I feel connections with people I have never met from […]

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