Now that the 2012 election and all the partisan sniping that preceded it are finally over, it has occurred to me that the thing that’s missing in our country right now is a cooperative approach to solving society’s problems. By that, I mean we have to learn – or perhaps relearn – how to start collaborating rather than confronting each other on issues in order to achieve the best possible outcomes. It’s time we quit blindly promoting our own affiliations and individual interests to the detriment of others, and became more cognizant of the fact that none of us has the all the answers, but that we all have pieces of the solutions – and that the only way we can put them all together is to come together ourselves with the higher purpose of achieving common objectives, rather than trying to outmaneuver each other. Whatever the dilemmas we face, there is no doubt in my mind that having the right group around the table with personal and professional agendas set aside and members working together to meld individual ideas into a unified whole is the real key to moving forward with meaningful and lasting reforms.
I would particularly like to see such an approach taken to one of my favorite issues – sustainability, and how best to achieve it. There are any number of aspects that could be tackled via such a roundtable discussion – for example, how to tackle climate change so as to prevent future Sandys and thus help preserve the sustainability of our habitat. Or ways to we might keep 40 percent of our food from being wasted while so many people go hungry. Or we could just address the problem of waste in general, and how it can be reduced or eliminated. We could begin by throwing out some questions – like why are people under the misapprehension we are doing a good job with recycling today when our actual rates are so dismal? Or why are we only managing to reprocess 30 percent of our motor oil when it is really a miraculous substance that can be used over and over with performance actually improving? Or why do we think organic food has been so successful when it currently represents less than three percent of our total food purchases? And maybe once we stopped colliding and started collaborating, we’d come up with some really constructive answers.
If we can take away one thing from this acrimonious and disconcerting election, it is that we really need to understand what the facts of any given situation are as opposed to partisan hype and distortions, and get people from opposing camps and interest groups to bury their differences and find common ground. And I’m not simply talking about avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff, which really doesn’t concern me. What I am worried about is the toxic cliff we’re now speeding toward – unless we’re able to get a unified and determined “steering committee” together that can successfully manage to put us into reverse.