The quote “Be the change you want to see in the world”, was attributed to Mahatma Gandhi….some would say falsely. It appears that the closest he came to saying these words, or something along their lines, was: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change”.
The actual phrase may have been said much later – in 1970 – well after Gandhi’s death, by New Age Teacher Arleen Lorrance, who taught at Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn. The concept of “be the change you wish to see in the world,” began in a report about The Love Project written by Ms. Lorrance, and published in an education reform text. But this doesn’t detract from the sentiment of the phrase, no matter who said it.
Henry David Thoreau, he of Walden fame, said something similar earlier still than Gandhi, when he said Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around. Actually, Thoreau had a great belief system and came up with some very worthy and notable quotations. He could certainly see through the veil of crap that that the political and the industrial systems put up between them and the public to keep the citizens in the dark, meekly following on as they are told. As follows…..
If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.
If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.
There are moments when all anxiety and stated toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure and repose of nature.
Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.
Thoreau died in 1862, well before the Wright Brothers first flight, but even back then he could see the amount of destruction that mankind could inflict on the earth. Of course since the late 1800’s and into the 1900’s our rate of destruction has ramped up to a terrifying level. Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, which he wrote in a basic cabin beside Walden Pond in the woods near Concord, Massachusetts. He is also known for his essay “Civil Disobedience”, an argument for disobedience to an unjust state. In which he encourages the people to stand up to the state machine, which has since morphed into our consumer driven system, that seems hell bent on destroying nature and our relationship with the earth and each other.
His banner….his writing legacy that is… about us being one with nature, of us protecting nature and ourselves as a part of nature, rather than being apart from nature…..has been taken up by other writers of the present day such as – Wendell Erdman Berry, an American novelist, poet, essayist, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer – Mark Boyle, a.k.a. The Moneyless Man, an Irish activist and writer best known for founding the online Freeconomy Community – Paul Kingsnorth, an English writer and thinker. Former deputy-editor of The Ecologist and a co-founder of the Dark Mountain Project.
All of the above writers are inspirational in their regard for protecting nature….for natures sake, not just because someone has placed a monetary value on nature. Please read them, become inspired by them, and become part of the solution, not part of the problem that we face today, as we continue to allow “the system” to rape and pillage nature. Sometimes, “the Law” won’t protect that which needs to be protected, because the people who make the laws are the ones doing the plundering….or benefiting financially from those who do the plundering. I’ll leave you with one last quote. This time from Earth Liberation Front spokesperson Leslie James Pickering, who said:
…..the vast majority of efforts made in the name of environmentalism are done so through state-sanctioned means to social change. But when the system itself is precisely what is enabling and promoting oppression, how is it logical to expect that same system to provide avenues toward liberation?
In other words, the answer to our environmental/climate problem are not going to come from the same source as those who support the industries and ways of life that are causing the problem. Government and the corporate world are not going to make changes unless forced to do so.
Please look into what Paul Kingsnorth, Mark Boyle and the Earth Liberation Front think are the answers.