Consider a non-harming direction

Consider a non-harming direction

By Suha Chari

Not many people I talk to agree that the world, in fact humanity, is heading in the wrong direction. They are quick to point out the many advances we have made in healthcare, reducing poverty and so on. Yet, are we aware that the inequality gap has widened, food has become cheaper but less nutritious, obesity and associated diseases are proliferating – and not just in the western world?

Hence, these words from one of my favorite authors were reassuring:

“… the damage we can already see, from soaring temperatures to soaring inequality, should tell us that our goals need to fundamentally shift: toward repair, toward security, toward protection.” —Bill McKibben

In his latest book “Falter,” McKibben talks about two technologies we can employ to achieve these goals: Again, in his words, “… both nonviolence and solar panels nudge us, at least a little, toward a smaller-scale world less obsessed with efficiency.”

It makes sense that solar panels replace fossil fuels, thus reducing CO2 output into the atmosphere – but nonviolence? That piqued my interest!

Mahatma Gandhi was a visionary. He knew that local communities caring for one another and working together would make for happy and resilient ones. One major tenet of Gandhi’s teaching is nonviolence.

Nonviolence is apparent in the civil disobedience movements over the centuries. Movements energize us, but are not the stuff of day to day living. Everyone wants to live a happy and fulfilling life, and for others to have the same. In practice, this requires maturity, the willingness to set limits on oneself for the good of all. It also requires balance – to know what is enough. Bigger isn’t always better; scaling can destroy more than it creates. When we continue to expand our living spaces, we lose valuable forests and habitats; then all of us suffer.

Nonviolence is non-harming. Gandhi exemplified it by living simply, and winning over his captors with empathy and kindness. In turn, they could not but admire him for his integrity and fearlessness.

Perhaps it is with nonviolence – the intention to cause no harm – and with respect for others’ points of view, that we can repair the world and see that it’s the small actions we take or avoid, every day, that will point us all in a life-sustaining direction.

So friends,
everyday do something 

that won’t compute.
Love the Lord.

Love the world.
Work for nothing. 

Take all that you have
and be poor.

—Wendell Berry

Garden Share

Share experiences in growing a variety of plants, herbs and trees. Held the third Saturday of each month. June 17, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Scripps Miramar Ranch Library courtyard.

Sustainable Scripps Ranch is a standing committee of the Scripps Ranch Civic Association. To learn more about Sustainable Scripps Ranch, visit or email