On a recent visit to Mumbai, India, reality struck like a tsunami. My airport hotel had the best security I’ve seen. Our taxi’s undercarriage was searched with mirrors before being allowed to approach the hotel, our baggage was scanned before going inside, we walked through a metal detector, and our room keys were required to operate the elevator. Two additional locks inside my room ensured no uninvited guests could enter.
When Westerners see such disparity, their first inclination is to “fix” it – to right the wrongs in our world. But this logic is flawed because Earth cannot sustain the level of standard that developed countries currently enjoy. The expanded need for resources among developing countries is currently pushing our planet over the edge.
While it is true that a single glass pane separates classes, rather than criticize India for its inequities, we are better doing all we can to preserve Earth’s resources and pressure developing countries to clean up their environment. The air quality in Asia, India, and much of its surrounding countries is horrendous because turning out products is more important than pollution control. Western countries don’t see much of this, but it truly affects us all, one way or another. Earth Day was April 22nd, and yet few noticed. If we think of every day as Earth Day, everyone, regardless of economic class or social status, will benefit.