I’m really not sure if I am helping the world or hurting it. Before I begin with my personal analysis, when I say “the world” I really mean humanity and the Earth. Am I helping out humanity and the Earth with my lifestyle? I think it’s a great question to ask of oneself. Think of the world as a giant bucket with some water in it. Are we a bucket dipper, meaning we take things away and are bad for the world, or are we a bucket filler, adding more good to the world?
On the way home from my job, I’m a middle school teacher, I was listening to a conservative radio show talk host. He was talking about how a high school French teacher made her students do an assignment on conservation. I won’t get too much into the details, but basically, the host was ripping this teacher a new one. Yes, the teacher had her heart in the right place, but the execution of her idea was flawed. However, the radio show host is most definitely hurting the world, not only by what he says, but also in his view of the world. He’s a bucket dipper. Basically, he said, we should consume as much as we want because we can. I know that’s wrong. Just because we can do something doesn’t make it right for the world.
But what about me? I’m not perfect. Far from it.
So, I made up three categories where I’m going to judge if I am helping the world or hurting it.
That’s supposed to be a picture of the Earth. I’m from the western hemisphere. West Side! Back to the story.
Consumption of Goods
PRO – I recycle most of the bottles, cans, and paper products I consume, but probably not everything that I could. I made a little vegetable garden in our backyard, and grow lots of potatoes, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and onions. Our family eats it all up, but I’d say all together they provide enough food for maybe two out of the 365 days in the year.
CON – We’ve built a house. That used up a lot of materials from the Earth. I live in Wisconsin which means we burn off a lot of natural gas to heat our home. My wife and I both own cars that aren’t hybrids and drive a significant distance to get to work everyday. It’s pretty safe to say, my carbon footprint is rather large. I haven’t done anything to our home like adding geothermal heat, solar panels, or wind turbines. When I purchase food, some things I buy are organic, but the majority isn’t.
OVERALL = D- grade for my consumption of goods. My veggie garden saved me from a failing grade.
PRO – Specifically, I am a seventh grade English Language Arts teacher. On a basic level, I teach students how to read and write, but my ultimate goal is to help students become critical thinkers. The school district I work in performs well, but I think that’s just a product of the environment.
CON – To make a bigger impact, I should probably teach in a school that needs more positive male role models. I’d better serve the world by teaching in Milwaukee instead of the suburbs.
OVERALL = B
Family and Community
I’m married and I have three children. My wife is a high school math teacher, and my children are all in Elementary school.
PRO – So far, my wife and I have managed to stay out of jail, and my children aren’t much trouble at their school. I’m projecting here, but I imagine my children will all become productive members of society.
CON – It would probably be better for the world if my wife and I had only one child, seeing as we wouldn’t be using up as much resources. My wife and I thought that wouldn’t be fair to our first child because he should have people to play with. However, we think we’re good people, and we will hopefully do a good job raising our children so they can grow up to help out the world more than they hurt it. We aren’t very active in the community outside of me being a T-Ball coach and a soccer coach for the teams my children play on. I’ve only kicked the soccer ball and drilled a kid in the face a few times. They were accidents, I swear!
OVERALL = C This one is hard to say. I think it is up to others to judge if we are good for the community or not. Maybe I’m a real lousy coach and all the kids hate me?
I can do more. We all can. I’m trying to change the way I buy food, and I want to grow more vegetables next year. Also, I’d like to look into some ways to outfit my home so it can generate some renewable energy. Hopefully the kids I coach in my community have a good experience this year too. I’m not going to kick the ball at kids faces anymore. I swear!
Now, I ask you. Are you helping the world out or not? Are you dipping into the bucket or are you a bucket filler? Is humanity or the Earth a better place because of you?