Is the world in trouble? Are we about to experience a shock wave of instability that will shake off a massive number of us—the poor, the middle class, those who live on the coast, those who live in the path of climate change and economic disruption—like the drops of water that fly off a shaking dog? Maybe.
But also maybe not. Many of the issues that make their way into our blog are the issues that directly threaten the people we’re working to protect and support, and so a correlation exists between these events and the populations that draw our attention.
But we try not to focus solely on issues that impact only one geographic area, one population, or one isolated industry. We recognize that meaningful connections exist between every person and every event on the planet, and we try to keep our lens wide and our global outlook as broad as possible. With that in mind, we recognize two important truths: global economies are healthier at this point than they have been during most of the last century, and with modern technological advances, communication and information-sharing are taking place on unprecedented levels which—despite their flaws and negative side effects—provide healthy underpinnings for democratic societies. Human activity threatens the planet and global health, but as dangers have risen around us, so too has our ability to recognize, discuss, and solve related problems.
So how well are we leveraging that ability? How well are we using tools like communication, technology, and wealth to balance the scales? Are we using them at all? If you’re living comfortably or you imagine yourself dwelling far from the path of harm, how are you leveraging your advantages to protect those around you? Here are few things to keep in mind if you happen to be reaping the benefits of the 21st century and feeling sheltered from its dangers.
Reach for higher levers.
It’s important to recycle, cut waste, turn off lights in unused rooms and ask bartenders to keep the plastic straws out of our drinks. These things are great, and they can help us reduce our individual footprints and diminish our personal environmental impact. But these actions are available to everyone. If you have the ability to do more, reach a little higher and exercise that ability. If you have the personal resources, financial means, or social influence to pull a higher lever, extend yourself and do what others can’t. Spread your message to a wider audience. Pick up the phone and exercise your greater-than-average impact on policy decisions. Organize.
Check your investments.
It may be time to take a close look at your 401K and mutual fund holdings and critically examine the industries and corporations that are holding you aloft. If you like what you see, great. If not, shift your portfolio away from fossil fuels and toward holdings that promote rather than undermine global stability. Contact your fund managers or investment advisor and start a conversation about sustainability, activist ETFs, and working environmental issues into your long-term goals. If your fund managers don’t offer products focused on sustainability, encourage them to change that.
Adjust your language.
You’re having lunch with clients or coworkers, and an issue comes up that can easily be brushed aside. The issue may involve the fate of a marginalized population not represented in the room, or an issue of global and environmental concern that seems remote and disconnected from the current time and place. Instead of letting the topic slide off the table unnoticed, take five seconds to educate, influence, or voice your convictions. Small ripples can cover the surface of a large pond. Throw in your pebble before you walk away.
For more simple moves that can help you make the most of your influence and leverage your position to protect others, work for global justice, or start building a positive legacy, contact our team. We’ll point you in the right direction.