I believe that I have the responsibility to leave this world a little better than I found it. I am 86 now and look back on a world that I have tried to make a little better.
I am a chemist, I worked in industry for over 30 years, then was a professor for 12 years. I was fortunate that with the combination of industrial and academic background I was able during retirement to teach short courses for technical personnel of industrial companies, not only in the U.S. but around the world, including three times in China. While I can’t travel any longer, I can still write and have just finished a reference book.
Obviously no one person can remedy all the worlds problems but if everyone would do a little, conditions could be improved substantially: feeding the poor, improving education, lobbying for peace are among the things that collectively people could have a real opportunity for helping the world. My wife and I did volunteer work such as recording for the blind, meals on wheels, hospital volunteers, The Nature Conservancy. Most important we raised our 6 children to have the same beliefs. They are all involved in education as I was, obviously not all of us can be educators but we can all support our public schools and through such organizations as UNICEF increase availability of good education in the underdeveloped countries.
A daughter was in the Peace Corps in Ghana and a son in Burkina Faso. I just got the best Christmas gift ever. The kids sent money to a woman in a Burkina Faso village to buy a cow. Now there is a cow in Africa named “Zeno”.
There are many opportunities to contribute. We can all fight racial and religious intolerance. We can do our bit to help protect the environment. We all can help reduce the emission of CO2 to slow the pace of global warming. We can limit our speed on the highways to conserve gasoline, we can use public transportation more. We can buy cars with better gasoline mileage and so forth.
We can vote for people that believe that the government should assist the underprivileged with educational opportunities, health care, adequate affordable housing. We can vote against those who feel that the US should use its power including military power to force the acceptance of U.S. positions around the world, who make tax laws that favor the rich and decrease support for the lower income part of the citizens. We can vote for people that believe it is essential to protect our environment including mandating better fuel efficiency in cars.
It is up to man. He alone by his own efforts can enlarge the bounds of empire, to the effecting of all things possible, to remolding this sorry scheme of things to the heart’s desire. He alone can choose out of his vision of the present and the past, his future course.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.