So Why Don’t We Do What We Know How To Do?

Dear friends,

 My heart is breaking. I am sad for our hurting, wonderful world, and for our national political life in tatters, and for the vast unnecessary suffering in the world.  Recently, I found myself writing down a list of things we already know how to do towards building what Dr. King called the “beloved community”, some version of which I believe everyone of us holds deep in our hearts.  Though some of these ways may not be well-known or accepted or believed possible, each item has been accomplished by someone or some group somewhere in the world at some time.  Many have been researched, studied, refined, reported on. They exist in the storehouse of human abilities. Maybe many will resonate with you. Since mine is just a partial list, feel free to add lines or whole categories of your own, and pass it on if you like.  Who knows, maybe later it will come back my way ten times longer.

May we do what we know how to do, John

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SO WHY DON’T WE DO WHAT WE KNOW HOW TO DO?

a very partial list
(note: “We” sometimes means individually, sometimes collectively, and sometimes both.)

I
We know how to grow healthy, organic food.
We know how to heal most sickness.
We know how to reduce obesity, hypertension, and high cholesterol naturally.
We know how to build healthy bodies.
We know how to stop smoking and overeating.
We know how to prevent most illnesses.
We know how to reduce chronic stress naturally.
We know how to prevent malaria and dysentery.
We know how to prevent the spread of AIDS/HIV.
We know how through successful human experience.
We know how, so why don’t we do it?

II
We know how to nurture children’s natural intelligence and creativity.
We know how to create stimulating, meaningful, relevant learning environments.
We know how to help each student be recognized for his or her gifts and talents.
We know how to provide a safe atmosphere from bullying and fear.
We know how to use a diversity of learning/teaching styles to fit the diversity of people.
We know how to build small schools and open classrooms, with caring & skilled teachers.
We know how through successful human experience.
We know how, so why don’t we do it?

III
We know how to provide workers with a sustainable wage.
We know how to create full employment.
We know how to develop safe work places.
We know how to promote worker ownership and investment in success.
We know how to value all necessary areas of work like families, farms, factories, finance.
We know how to build things with quality that lasts.
We know how to build things that are nearly completely recyclable.
We know how to build workplaces that are pleasant to work in.
We know how to create businesses that promote the triple bottom line.
We know how to sustain cooperatives, large and small.
We know how through successful human experience.
We know how, so why don’t we do it?

IV
We know how to build comfortable and affordable housing.
We know how to build green, energy efficient housing.
We know how to build housing that fits its environment.
We know how to build co-housing and such that relates people rather than isolates them.
We know how through successful human experience.
We know how, so why don’t we do it?

V
We know how to resolve conflicts without violence.
We know how to recognize and appreciate differences without division.
We know how to show compassion and kindness.
We know how to treat each other with complete respect.
We know how to interrupt oppressive treatment of anyone.
We know how to work cooperatively when called upon.
We know how through successful human experience.
We know how, so why don’t we do it?

VI
We know how to heal emotional trauma.
We know how to heal substance abuse.
We know how to heal chronic anxiety.
We know how to heal depression.
We know how to heal some types of psychosis.
We know how to heal neuroses.
We know how to heal phobias.
We know how to heal most mental illness.
We know how to heal life-dimming personal patterns.
We know how through successful human experience.
We know how, so why don’t we do it?

 VII
We know how to maintain healthy marriages and life partners.
We know how to make policies and workplaces that support parents.
We know how to raise emotionally healthy children.
We know how to create a nurturing family life.
We know how to care for our elders in loving and inclusive ways.
We know how to build healthy, safe, inclusive communities.
We know how through successful human experience.
We know how, so why don’t we do it?

VIII
We know how to create renewable energy.
We know how to build energy efficient cars powered by renewable energy.
We know how to build homes, offices, factories powered by renewable energy.
We know how to build energy efficient and beautiful public transportation systems.
We know how to create clean, livable, community-oriented cities.|
We know how to do sustainable agriculture at a scale to feed everyone.
We know how to do sustainable forestry to provide wood for our important needs.
We know how to protect and rebuild our fisheries.
We know how to help protect animal and plant habitats.
We know how to live in harmony with our natural surroundings and natural resources.
We know how through successful human experience.
We know how, so why don’t we do it?

IX
We know how to reduce crime.
We know how to make prisons into houses of healing.
We know how to help criminals transform themselves into positive citizens.
We know how to engage gang members in community development.
We know how to help out of school youth become outstanding leaders.
We know how to provide conditions for individuals to raise themselves out of poverty.
We know how through successful human experience.
We know how, so why don’t we do it?

X
We know how to produce wonderful uplifting television for children and adults.
We know how to renew homespun entertainment like folk music and storytelling.
We know how to encourage individual and group creative arts.
We know how to curb the public images and stories of violence.
We know how to portray human being as kind, generous, and compassionate.
We know how to orient news toward finding the good news that inspires and buoys us.
We know how  through successful human experience.
We know how, so why don’t we do it?

XI
We know how to nurture healthy intimate relationships.
We know how to reduce and then heal sexual abuse.
We know how to reduce the use of pornography.
We know how to help young people link love and sex, to enjoy sex only within love.
We know how to educate about safe sex to prevent pregnancy.
We know how through successful human experience.
We know how, so why don’t we do it?

XII
We know how to work for the common good across political lines.
We know how to live in harmony with people whose faiths differ from ours.
We know how to live peacefully and cooperatively with people very different from us.
We know how to live with awe and wonder at creation.
We know how to live with reverence for all of life.
We know how to live with generous hearts and open minds.
We know how through successful human experience.
We know how, so why don’t we do it?

John Bell              jbellminder@gmail.com        www.beginwithin.info

About John Bell

John Bell most recently was Vice President at YouthBuild USA (www.youthbuild.org) for Leadership Development and Graduate Leadership, an international youth development and leadership program. He has over forty years of experience in the youth field as teacher, counselor, community organizer, program developer, leadership trainer, director, and parent. He was a founding staff member of three youth organizations: Youth Action Program (in 1978) in East Harlem, the original YouthBuild; Children of War (in 1984), an international youth leadership organization; and of YouthBuild USA (in 1988). He is a nationally known trainer and consultant in the areas of youth leadership development, peer counseling and healing, and diversity. Mr. Bell has done training and consulting work for the Peace Corps in Africa and South America. He is the author of numerous published articles and handbooks on youth leadership, including YouthBuild's North Star. He is a steadfast advocate for including young people as partners in community development. He is also a trained peer-counseling teacher and an ordained Buddhist Dharma Teacher in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. In all his work, he tries to integrate social justice, emotional healing, and spiritual practice. Mr. Bell holds a BA and MA from Stanford University.
This entry was posted in Articles, Social Change. Bookmark the permalink.