It's almost the summer movie season and already the capes, masks, cool tools and bursting muscles are on the scene. Iron Man was recently released. The Incredible Hulk comes out in June; Hellboy and Batman (as the Dark Knight) visit screens in July. There's something about superheroes and their powers that draws us close. Even Indiana Jones, Speed Racer and Prince Caspian (all out in May) could be considered a kind of superhero -- minus the fab outfits.
And, what was one of the most popular TV shows? Heroes. Those ordinary folks with extraordinary powers.
Wouldn’t it be cool to have superpowers? I bet most of us have played that game about what kind of superpower you’d choose if you could. I'll let you in on a little secret. I do have a special power: the power of choice. I make choices every day that affect lives. I make choices every day that help determine the kind of world we live in. We all have that power surrounding our choices. We all can make choices that nurture and support love and joy and peace and compassion and sustainability and justice. We all can make choices that condone and support suffering and destruction and hatred and fear and violence and cruelty. That’s a lot of power.
And the cool thing is that our choices can make a positive difference for the whole world. All those analogies you’ve heard—the butterfly effect, the domino effect, the it’s-like-the-ripples-in-the-pond effect, the whole web of life thing—they’re all true. We’re connected to everything, and though we often forget it—or like to pretend differently--we’re part of everything. So, it’s true: our actions—our choices—have a big impact on the world around us. As activist and author Frances Moore Lappe says, “Every choice we make can be a celebration of the world we want.” So, if I choose to eat a fast food hamburger, then I’m saying “Yes!” to animal suffering and exploitation, rainforest destruction, low wages and poor benefits for workers. If I shop at a big box store, I’m saying “Yes!” to sweatshops and child slavery, urban sprawl and habitat destruction, worker discrimination and the forcing out of local businesses. If I choose to buy lots of stuff, then I’m saying “Yes!” to poverty and competition for resources, to more for me and less for everyone else, to exploitation and oppression. Does that sound like something to celebrate? Does that sound like the kind of world we all dream about?
It’s often not easy to see the impact—to see the connections. It would be great if we could all wear some sort of superhero x-ray vision goggles, so that when we looked at two t-shirts, for example, we could see that one is connected to pesticides and soil degradation and habitat destruction and pollution from long-distance transport and children and young women working in sweatshops with poor ventilation, miniscule bathroom breaks, no labor representation, and armed guards, for very little pay, and the other is connected to organic growing methods, soil and habitat conservation, workers paid a fair wage at factories running on renewable energy, and the local small business who sells them.
When most of us talk about the kind of world we want, we talk about the same things: happy, healthy families; a meaningful life & work; a home; connection to something larger than ourselves; a healthy, sustainable planet; to know that we’ve made a positive difference. The way we live our lives can never be as black and white as the good vs. evil struggle between movie superhero and villain. There are always challenges, circumstances, compromises. But, if we really believe, as Peter Sauer says, that “A just, peaceful, safe and healthy environment is everybody’s…right and the right of every future generation,” then we must expand our vision to encompass the needs and interests of the global community; we must extend our circle of concern to all living things; we must learn to give equal consideration to each of us: mouse and mountain, child and cheetah, woman and wetlands. We must work together so that everyone knows love, justice, peace, compassion, joy and beauty, and can enjoy the blessing of a healthy, sustainable, vibrant world.
Just as the Bat signal called Batman to use his powers to save the day, the world is calling us to use our superpowers. Let’s use the power of our choices. Let’s use the gift of our connection with everyone and everything. Let’s use them to help make the world a celebration of life, and a community that cares for all.
~ Marsha, Web Content/Community Manager