Life makes sense when there is purpose and meaning. People know why they get out of bed each day, what important things they have to attend to, and how they will gain fulfillment from such contributions. Some call it job satisfaction, others could call it life satisfaction. What they do truly makes a difference, in their lives, their family’s, and the wider community. Just like the tug boat above, they are an integral part of a functioning community.
Having purpose and meaning is also a protection against depression, and hedonism, boredom, and loss of identity. It remains incumbent on our wider communities to provide a diversity of opportunities for people of all ages to be able to contribute meaningfully each day. In the event we do not, we create the circumstances where social disruption emerges and compounds. When we respect the dignity of our people and value the importance of a role for all, we encourage social cohesion.
Sadly, we live in times where wealth and fame are too often valued in advance of authentic and meaningful community engagement. In the era of social media, there is scope to generate wealth simply by becoming a celebrity with multitudes of followers. Yes, it creates an economy of itself, but it also exacerbates the gap between the haves and have nots, it values quantity over quality, and it encourages new occupations that do not necessarily advance the human condition or protect the natural environment.
At a time of unprecedented bush-fires in south eastern Australia, some people are belatedly understanding that this country represents more than just its GDP, its per capita wealth. It is a country of great diversity and beauty, of stunning rain-forests and amazing and unique flora and fauna (including iconic marsupials). Yet in recent decades, our politicians and wealthy individuals have placed their own desire for power and wealth ahead of caring for the welfare of this country’s environment, on land and across the seas (including the now damaged Great Barrier Reef).
That negligence and recklessness, the greed and the indifference, the entitlement and denial, are now revealed as the catalysts of potentially irretrievable environment carnage. Such characterisation could be described as extreme, yet the opposite stance of complacency is not managing the risks that have been articulated for many decades now. Do we assume all will be well and do nothing or over-compensate on the side of caution? We know how most responsible people answer that …
It is time to place our selfish impulses aside and act meaningfully in the interests of the planet and all its creatures. To build and maintain successful communities, we need to act collaboratively, cohesively and with purpose. To protect what we have, and nurture that which sustains us, the natural environment, in all its forms. Now is the time to act. For the greater good. Meaningfully.