This I Believe

Maria - Livonia, Michigan
Entered on September 23, 2007

This I believe. I believe that the future you have tomorrow won’t be the future you had yesterday. You may be asking yourself why. Well, as the age-old adage goes, I may not live to see tomorrow. Therefore, I feel it is my duty as a human being to “leave my mark” in this world today.

In our own way, we as individuals direct what the future will be like. In the words of the late, great Peter Ferdinand Drucker, “The best way to predict the future is to create it”. No matter how big or small, what we do in our daily lives affects what will occur in later years. For example, according to scientists around the world, global warming is occurring slowly but surely because of the wasteful and relatively inconsiderate ways of most people. Of course there are the bare few who take time to recycle and who are vegetarians and vegans. But the vast majority of people on this great big and somewhat beautiful earth don’t care enough to make small sacrifices. Unfortunately, the consequences for such neglect could be dire. This is why people should do at least one thing to conserve our resources and “save the world”. For lack of better words, I’m not asking anybody to go out and be a tree-hugging hippie. That defeats the purpose. However, each contribution is worth it in the long run. For those who feel that they should benefit from their contribution, most energy efficient products save money over time. It’s a win-win situation either way. Wouldn’t it make you feel better knowing that you’re helping future generations to have a green Earth just as you have now? And if you need further motivation, then think of it like this: Brian O’ Connell from The Random Acts Of Kindness Foundation once said, “There’s something wonderfully rewarding in being part of an effort that does make a difference.” After hearing that, can you continue to be selfless or do you now feel inclined to go out and do something?

In order to positively mold the future, one step that we need to take is to learn from the past and the present, as well. American journalist Robert D. Kaplan said that “If a glimpse of the future is possible, it must come from an intimacy with the present clarified by the great works of the past.” So what was he trying to say? From my point of view, Mr. Kaplan meant that if we are to properly mold the future, we have to combine what we do in the present with what we learned in the past. We must not make the same mistakes again. But, it sometimes seems that we are. For example, in the 50’s and 60’s and even before then, minorities fought for civil rights, which thankfully were eventually granted to them. However, racially-promoted acts of hate still occur to this day. Take in mind the Jena 6 controversy. It has sparked a movement which will likely be another white vs. black fight. It will be a back and forth battle about who did what and why. Another instance of history in repitition is the current genocide in Darfur. Did this not occur under similar circumstances during the Holocaust? Altogether, millions of people have died because of both. And yet, most countries including the US of A have continued to turn a blind eye towards the situation. Is this what our founding fathers would have wanted us to do?

It can be said that the future looks somewhat bleak. This may because homicides occur left and right or because it seems that every year, some country threatens to either enter or compete in the nuclear arms race. Diseases such as AIDS and heart disease continue to wipe out millions every year. More and more teenagers are dying from car accidents and suicides. What will become of the next generation? Chuck Palahniuk may have said it best when he asked “When did the future switch from being a promise to a threat?” Maybe the future won’t be bright. Maybe the future will be a darker place than it is now as we continue to degenerate ourselves. Maybe there will be no “future”. That is for us, here in the present, to dictate. What will you decide?

In conclusion, whether it is for better or for worse, I believe in the future. I can’t guess what will occur in the future. I can only hope that as a human race, we will advance rather than decline. In my lifetime, long or short, I promise not only myself, but also those around me, that I will use all of my might to make this world better. It may be only the miniscule of changes but I would rather die knowing that I did something rather than nothing. In this, I firmly believe.