Posts Tagged 'Diana Bloom'

Systems Fail: Accountability and Our Trash Heap

When I look around at the world I see many problems and issues. It is easy to become despondent as the world continues to go from bad to worse. What could we possibly do to make things better of this burning trash heap of a planet? It all seems out of control. And even if we think there is someone in control we jump to blame. Just to name a few of our issues:

  1. Climate Change: One of the major problems on our planet is linked to the global temperatures that are continuously rising. By 2100, studies show that there is a 50% likelihood of facing global warming that is higher than 3.5 degrees Celsius and a 10% probability of witnessing warming higher than 4.7 degrees Celsius (relative to temperatures registered between 1850 and 1900). This would result in more severe shifts in weather patterns, food and resource shortages, and the more rapid spread of diseases.
  2. Wars and Military Conflicts: There is a war in Ukraine. Russia one of the world powers will do everything to keep Ukraine out of the EU. This could easily escalate to a 3rd World War. This is just one region. Beyond any bloodshed or hardship in any of these war-torn regions, there is a huge issue caused for and by the refugees of war.
  3. Water Contamination and Shortage: 2.1 billion people in countries undergoing urbanization have inaccessibility to clean drinking water as a result of pollution, poverty and poor management of resources.
  4. The Relationship between Education and Child Labor: Despite a surge in funding for some countries and increasing attention through social media, education continues to be a luxury around the globe. Reasons include gender preferences and poverty, and child labor — the use of children in industry. According to UNICEF, 150 million children participate in laborious activities dangerous to their health.
  5. Violence: Violence is a global issue that exists in all shapes and sizes. Violence can be done towards a particular group like women or LGBTQ+ members, or it is an act that can be a result of a mentally disturbed mind. There is also violence in response to economic stress. All these varying forms of violence lead to attention on the safety and prevention of such acts. Despite COVID pushing #metoo out of the news, we still have not dealt with these abuses of power.
  6. Poverty: 1.3 billion people have difficulty obtaining food and shelter, regardless of the availability of homeless shelters and organizations.
  7. Inequality: According to a Global Wealth Report, 44 percent of global net worth is held by only 0.7 percent of adults. In a society where there’s a large gap between the rich and the poor, life expectancy tends to be shorter and mental illness and obesity rates are 2 to 4 times higher. In terms of social relationships, inequality on a larger level introduces more violence and crime.
  8. Terrorism: Terrorism like the bombing incidents of the last few years continue to claim the lives of innocents. It is a threat to the peace, security and stability of the world, so terrorism prevention methods have been implemented to illustrate what is wrong and should be/could be done to uphold justice.
  9. Child Marriages: One in five girls are married before the age of 18, and child marriages prevent children from becoming educated, can lead to severe health consequences and increased risk of violence.
  10. Food: By 2050, the world would need to find food for approximately nine billion people as cost of production for food will rise in response to the increased amount of individuals.
  11. Human Rights Violation: There are many place in the world where people do not live free. One example is how the China’s Uyghur Genocide.
  12. Global Health Issues: While we might feel that we are done with COVID- 19, what is coming next?
  13. Gun Violence: There is a huge problem in America around access and use of guns. We have become knumb to the regularity of mass shootings.

Individually I believe we have the power to fix each of these issues. But looking at this litany of crap in this sh!t storm of our lives today it is overwhelmed. When I dig deeper I am left seeing a theme to our issues. We just lack accountability. We could fix all of these things, we just do not have a culture of accountability to make it happen.

Here I quote my Accountability Rebbe Diana Bloom when she says, “ People do not fail, systems fail.”

Instead of running to blame people or just throwing up my hands in despair , I want to ask what systems we could put into place to make sure we working on solutions and making the world better.

I was thinking about this idea this week when reading Yitro, this week’s Torah portion. Here we see Moshe sitting from morning until night adjudicating cases. His father-in-law Yitro advises Moshe to appoint a hierarchy of magistrates and judges to assist him in the task of governing and administering justice to the people. We all need systems to be effective. Moshe himself needed a system to make sure that they could have a just civilization.

This story of having a judiciary system itself is the story that immediately precedes the give of the Torah. In many ways it seems that the Torah and the halacha we learn in it is what our wisdom tradition offers the world as a system of accountability. While you might not see this in modern Israel, but a separate judiciary system is critical to our culture. As we read about the giving of the Torah we should thing about what systems we can put in place to make sure we are doing our part to save this burning trash heap of a planet.


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