Give a damn about our planet


Give a Damn about our Planet: A guest blog from Laura Ballantyne-Brodie, Chief Big Thinker at Rent to the World

Congratulations on making it this far! No really. Did you ever stop to realise that you are the result of about 3.8 billions years of evolution? It strikes me sometimes that in the midst of doom and gloom we forget to rejoice the fact that despite the odds, human life has evolved in a truly remarkable way and we’re now alive to experience the world wide wake-up call challenging us to shift our paradigm and start to take care of the Earth.

Yes – despite the turmoil that surrounds us (you know, the disruptive technology, economic woes and seemingly insurmountable environmental degradation), we live at a fascinating time and we’re witnessing the evolution of human consciousness before our eyes.

Right now we are quite literally at the fork in the road, and it’s up to us to choose the path to a safe, clean and free society for current generations and for future generations that come after us.

The shift we’re experiencing is a shift in paradigm – from a worldview in which:

  • individual is king to community being paramount;
  • humanity works against nature (or from above) to one where humanity sees itself as a part of nature;
  • autocracy and hierarchy rule to democracy taking a deeper hold;

We’re moving from a worldview that prioritises nations to one that prioritises planet. It’s a worldview where our first allegiance is to the planet – yes – planetism !

Rent to the World was founded to catalyse this shift and support everyone who is ready to slide sideways to a happier healthier existence that is within the limits of the planet to sustain us.

You may have noticed the metaphor we use, to pay ‘rent’ to the world – that’s because it’s unmistakable. Everyone has a concept of money (whether you think it is a good or a bad thing is another story) and this acts as a powerful tool to remind us that we all have an impact, and therefore a responsibility to give something back to the Earth – our home – for the gift of life and the use of its resources – valuable, beautiful and quite often finite.

Some people say that these issues are not important and may even feel disempowered as they are ‘insignificant in the scheme of things’  when faced with the task of changing. But this is also a paradigm that needs to be challenged! Consciously or unconsciously the predominant worldview we are living in stresses that life is insignificant because we are so tiny in comparison to the infinite universe. However, if you ask the wrong question, you’ll probably get the wrong answer – and here – we must start to challenge this view also! You see, the Earth may be insignificant in space (aka yes we are tiny in space) but we are significant in time – Planet Earth has been around such a long time that it has allowed complex human life, and everything in the biosphere, to flourish. The Earth has been here for a really long time and that fact alone means there is no justification for us to continue approaching our relationship with the Earth and life itself with indifference. This fundamental relationship needs some counselling – to recognise that we’re trashing the planet for the benefit of a relative few and flying in the face of 3.8 billion years of miraculous design.

Humanity is receiving a wake-up call after many years of taking our place on Earth for granted – and the message is resoundingly clear: we cannot continue on our current course. It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. We’re being reminded that it is our responsibility to take care of the planet, so that in return, it will look after us.

Wendell Berry, the remarkable American poet, farmer and activist has said “the world and life it holds are conditional gifts. We have the world to live in on condition that we take good care of it”. Unless our worldview shifts to one which places cooperation, collaboration and responsibility at its core, we’ll continue on a path of destruction.

We’ve (at Rent HQ) set out on this journey because we believe that a lot (read anything) can be achieved if humanity works together in the spirit of solidarity. Our hope is that you’re ready to join with us to turn things around.

Rent to the World is participating in the Australian Centre for Social Innovation’s Change Makers Festival at the Design School of Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane on 7 November (11am -2pm).  Check it out here: