One Planet, One People

Yeah, yeah. Set aside the world wars, where we showed unequivocally that we are not “one people.” From civil wars (hot and cold) to Christian denominations, humans have what seems like an endless capacity for splintering into smaller and smaller groups.

One planet, one people? Hah.

But sometimes it *almost* seems that way. Sometimes we catch a glimpse of what it might be like, this whole “Love your neighbour as yourself” thing. And what a broader understanding of “neighbour” might lead to.

In 1847, the Choctaw Nation sent food to Ireland during the Great Famine, just 16 years after stumbling off the Trail of Tears.

In 1990, several Choctaw leaders took part in the first annual Famine walk at Doolough in County Mayo; two years later, Irish commemoration leaders walked the 500 mile length of the Trail of Tears. A former Irish president is now an honorary Choctaw Chief. Most importantly, both Choctaw and Irish people now work together to provide assistance for people suffering from famine worldwide.
Atlas Obscura

In 2001, residents of small towns in central Newfoundland welcomed 6,595 people from 38 commercial flights, grounded after the 9/11 attacks.

In 2002, when drought ravaged Western Canada and threatened entire herds with starvation, horrified farmers from Ontario east to PEI sent trainloads of cattle feed; railways donated the transportation. Was it enough? No. Was it worth doing anyway? Yes.

And this past week, right here, 100 Mexican firefighters arrived to help fight Ontario’s forest fires, along with a 17-person fire-fighting crew from Atlantic Canada. I don’t know all the circumstances. I do know they’re here, helping when and where needed.

There’s an old adage for golf caddies:

Show up. Keep up. Shut up.

Never mind our seemingly endless capacity for creating trouble for ourselves. Life presents us with a truly endless stream of trouble: some in our own community, some across the country, some on the other side of the world. But maybe life isn’t as demanding as professional golf. In human terms, maybe what matters most is that we show up.

One planet, one people?


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6 Responses to One Planet, One People

  1. barbara carlson says:

    Could the pandemic be a one planet, one people moment? Or has sharing the vaccine got tangled up in our Me and my Own come first? Judging by the little animal creatures’ greedy ways in John’s neck of the woods, it doesn’t look good. And the more stressed and stretched humans are, themore animal nature takes over… So, yeah, probably not…

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – I think at the beginning of the pandemic there was lots of that sort of “fellow feeling” going around. I’d agree that there’s less now. We’re all one link in a long and unbroken chain of survivors, but survival requires both competition and cooperation, IMO.

      • barbara carlson says:

        In the partisan “United” States, co-operation is increasingly seen as being weak, giving in, and an attack on one’s freedom.

        This will not end well for the sane.

        • Isabel Gibson says:

          Barbara – Yes, it sometimes seems as if no difference is too small to divide us.

  2. Yeah and Amen. So glad to be reminded.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – 🙂 As am I glad, when I think to notice the examples. It’s easy to count the counter-examples…

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