If the pain comes from personal things, like relationships and academic progress, I manage that with all efforts but when it comes to natural disaster and something happening in a greater degree where I can’t see directly I often struggle to take them seriously. Because if it’s personal, I try to be grateful for my own situations immediately so that I can diminish negative feelings soon. Very simple.
The section “information is not enough” remains me of this problem.
The first natural disaster I experienced was the giant Tohoku earthquake in March 2011 when I was still in Japan. The area where I lived experienced big shake but didn’t have Tsunami damage. The only things that affected our lives was a shortage of electricity and running water for a few days, and maybe oil. It was shocking to see the all hell-like landscapes of devastated areas and people suffering in cold weather on TV. I could not move from the front of the TV screen for several days, just watching the news. The nuclear power plants in Fukushima exploded due to the invaded ocean water by Tsunami and it was just very very bad to see.
I was very sad and I will not forget that sadness. There were many events and movements to raise money, send letters, foods, clothes, anything needed at shelters. However, I felt I did not surely contribute to the victims who were suffering from their situations, because I just could not see them directly and understand their situations, I felt I was just doing whatever a society let me do. It is my example of too disastrous things which information did not help me to be hopeful and do my things.
In Active Hope, the authors say we need to digest information first so that we can act and do good for the world. That made sense a lot to me pondering my experiences above. Finally, I could meet people who witnessed Tsunami disaster and actively work for the victims last year and I became more interested in learning about the event and more sympathetic for people there. I also became capable of thinking about the environment of the ocean after being close to ocean nature (being in Seattle!) and learning about economic contradiction with nature. Concentrated chemicals from nuclear plans are still being released to the oceans and killing thousands of lives under the water.
It took a long time to see those disasters as my problems, something I truly concern. Then Active Hope suggests making open sentences responding to the natural concerns that people all over the world face. I was amazed how well it worked for me. That makes us connect our own experiences with the big (or invisible) problems. This is what we need to start acting with authentic efforts.
Here’s Ted Talk Radio talking about individuals’ power to form social movements.