In the book I featured last week, Abundance, the author, Peter Diamandis, makes a point early on that I found intriguing. He writes that we have the opportunity to create a world of abundance and it can be shared by everyone. It seems like a huge undertaking in that he is talking about food and water security for all as just one result. He frames the issue by first writing about the concept of scarcity. He uses the examples of energy and water and the fact that for many on our planet, those two resources are either largely unavailable or what is available creates huge health issues. In the case of water, “half of the world’s hospitalizations are due to people drinking water contaminated with infectious agents, toxic chemicals and radiological hazards.” For energy, much of the world relies on burning wood for heating and cooking which leads to respiratory issues. In both examples, there are non-health damages in that the enormous amount of time spent getting the fuel and water means that many young people are not able to go to school and get an education.
The authors question whether the issue is really scarcity. In the case of energy, “there’s over five thousand times more solar energy falling on the planet’s surface than we use in a year.” For water, while most of the planet is covered by water, 97% of it is salt water. So, our issue is not one of scarcity as we have the resources, but we lack the access and technology to harness them.
When we think about running out of something important to us (think money), our emotions may include fear and despondency. On the other hand, our emotions when addressing a challenge of inaccessibility may turn to resolve and determination. My takeaway is that the way we frame the issue impacts the emotions around developing solutions. This book frames the question as scarcity versus inaccessibility whereas, in my everyday life, it is more often problems versus challenges. The issues might be the same, but my emotions in tackling the issues are different. Framing the issue properly can make all the difference in our mindset as we address the challenges we face.
I hope that you enjoyed an abundant Thanksgiving Day and that you have a nice weekend.
This week’s selection is:
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
A 13-year-old boy is thrown out of the school he loves when his family can no longer afford the fees. He sneaks into the library and learns how to build a windmill to save his village from a famine.