Every day, when you turn on the news, you see stories of both inspiration and of chaos. One pitted against the other. We sit at a table and either read our phones, computers or newspaper or watch the scenes unfold on the television screen before our very eyes. “I wish that I could do something that” we say to ourselves in awe as we digest the scene. “How awful! How could this happen? Why isn’t this being prevented?” asks another voice as another scene unfolds. Here is what we, the general public, need to realize – we are the answer we seek to the questions that we ask. We can make that change. We can be that source of inspiration. We can make a difference. We, the inhabitants of the lands and seas of this Earth, have that power. We need to remember to cast our eyes to the future and behold the future that we see and act on it.
Exploration of new frontiers and food sustainability. These are the two topics that I am going to discuss in this article. Why? Because these are two subjects that I can speak about and two subjects that impact everyone. These two issues represent two positive vessels of change in our society – a society that needs to focus more on the bridges that unite us as a people rather than the walls that divide us. We are more than the angry, divisive culture that we have allowed to define our discourse and identities as of late. While a level of division and conflict is inevitable – one need only to look back at the history of civilization to know that this is so – we do not need to let that be our defining culture in this era. Rather, we can look towards the horizon and see a brighter future, one that advances our society, our humanity, our accomplishments and our world.
In the past 50 years, looking specifically in the United States, what do we see? Yes, we have gone through many incidents that have left black scars on our souls. But, look again, and you will see something else. Pull the veil back and you will realize that over the past half century, we have had great advances in human development and the exploration of new frontiers. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy spoke these words when declaring that the United States would land a man on the moon in that decade: “We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people.” Over the past 50 years, we have not only landed man on the moon and explored a small fraction of the vastness of space and the world beyond ours, but we have explored the seas that we have long sailed and come to understand them as well. We have made advances in science and society. Despite the unrest that seemingly marks our times, we have found new ways to make the lands we walk, the seas we navigate and the skies we explore areas where humans of all races can live and prosper. Look around you, we are still making these stories happen. They may be hidden or they may be small – say in a youth 4-H camp – but they are there. We are the inspiration that we seek. We are the changers of the world that we look for. Tomorrow it could be you. It could be me. We can change the world. We can change the world for the better together.
Now that your mind has been opened, turn your eyes once more to the news. What do you see? Yes, we have stories of poverty, inequality and unequal accessibility to food and resources. What else do you see? I know that I see a world full of farmers. Some in the agricultural community have been struggling as of late. Farming is a tough business. I can attest to that. However, in the past century, agriculture has undergone one of the most transformative changes that it has seen in centuries. There is new technology to be used and increased yields to be harvested and more sustainable methods to be utilized. One of the keys to making society more affluent again is to eliminate food deserts and provide more resource hubs. This will require innovation. Perhaps the seas we sail and the stars we navigate hold some of the answers. Perhaps, more diverse business practices and more practical policies are the answers. The thing to remember is this – we hold the power. We, the people, hold the power to make this change. From the consumer to the advocate to the farmer, history rewards those who take chances in the effort to better our world. When I say food sustainability, I do not merely mean the method in which a crop is grown. There are many opinions on that as well. I mean making the resources and food that we produce a lasting resource. Human civilization, as we know it, was started when humans discovered agriculture. Our future depends on that trend continuing. Again, our eyes must look towards the future.
When I look at our current situation as a world, I try to look for the positive impacts that people are having on our society. Yes, we must acknowledge that the pain of our battles exists, but they don’t have to define us. We don’t have to let whatever evil force drives that pain impact us. We must realize this to survive as a race – the human race. In the late 1960’s, Apollo 8 became the first man-carrying craft from Earth to orbit the Moon. As Apollo 8 orbited the Moon, Jim Lovell noted that when he first saw Earth as a solitary object in the vast universe, he could cover the whole Earth up with his thumb. Funny, isn’t it? All of our problems and all of our lives can be covered by a thumb. We are a small force in this universe. Why don’t we work together to try to make it last?
Whether we can make it last or not is up to us. We don’t have to read the news or watch scenes develop in front of us and ask how that could be changed and who will do it. We are the answer to that question. Robert F. Kennedy once stated, “Few will have the greatness to bend history; but each of us can work to change a small portion of the events, and in the total of all these acts will be written the history of this generation.” Never has this been more true than now. Do not be afraid to dare to dream. Do not be afraid to be the change that you seek. If we all have the courage within our hearts to find the positive things in life and act accordingly, we will make this world a better, kinder, gentler and more compassionate place. It all starts with looking to the future.
As an educational staff member at a University and as a small business owner/farmer, I know what I am going to do to make this world a better place. I will seek to inspire others, educate others and produce for the benefit of others. What will you do? Comments are welcome.