Two of the leading issues needing urgent attention in our world are the environment and proper communication between two major opposing cultures. From these dual problems stem many other concerns.

The environment is a dilemma, about which we can all do something; we just need to curb our greed and laziness. British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson has promised to spend up to $3 billion over the next 10 years on projects aimed at tackling the environmental problem. This is a significant gesture and the publicity alone is valuable in focusing our attention on the issue.

The great gift the media has, is the constant ability to shine a light on aspects of our lives for good or bad. This is definitely one for the good and Sir Richard’s gesture may prod others to follow suit.

The other issue is more complex and is based largely on the economics and power games of man’s ambitions.

Just three weeks ago the actor, Mr. George Clooney addressed the United Nations Assembly on the tragedy in Darfur, which is growing into a runaway catastrophe. As ever, this is a man made disaster made from different tribal/religious/power factions reminiscent of Nazi Germany, determined by a better equipped, more powerful section of the region to annihilate a weaker group, who have the same human rights to live peaceful lives without fear or hunger, as their oppressors.

Mr. Clooney warned the UN that this tragedy “would be on their watch”; this is a very powerful phrase and I wondered how it translated into the other languages of the listeners. Would it lose some or much of its strength in its interpretation by the very detached and unemotional renditions by the UN interpreters? If only we spoke the same language, would we be able to communicate as powerfully as is often necessary to get the message across?

Two weeks ago US President George Bush and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad each individually addressed the UN, regarding Iran’s position on nuclear development. What if President Bush spoke Farsi and President Ahmadinejad could or would speak English and they sat down together and communicated with each other properly. Naïve, you may say. But maybe not, after all they are only men, human beings like the rest of us and if they could communicate and

speak each others language, maybe they would find the humanity in each other.

The more we speak to each other, in the other’s language and acknowledge and respect each other’s culture, the safer our little planet will be.

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