Let's look at another astounding historical example of the human response to unbearable circumstances and the response. The "Black Plague" or "Black Death" was a pandemic that spread across Asia and Europe reaching its peak between 1346-1353. The estimates range from 75-200 Million deaths which equates to 30-60% of the European Population falling prey to this disease. These are astounding numbers and yet the real story of the plague is really more about what happened before to even make it possible and the lack of response. The events prior to massive outbreak created the perfect environment for this deadly pandemic. The combination of malnutrition due to famine of various causes coupled with a lack of sanitation in large cities allowed for the rapid spread of a disease. I know, not exactly Thanksgiving dinner conversation but the point is just like the pilgrims what seems to be missing is the sense of urgency. In both cases, I wonder what the discussions were, "well, we've lost 20% of the population, I wonder how much worse it can get?" then a year later, "well, we've lost 30% of the population, maybe this is serious?" For some reason, we human beings tend to disregard the warning signs and take early action instead deciding to see if it will get any worse before we act. So why is this important?
As George Santayana famous quote says “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." When is it time for alarm or to take action? How many millions of people need to become ill with a disease before we decide to take action? How bad to things need to get before we decide to sail to a new world? Will history really repeat itself? Consider this, it is now estimated that 24 Million Americans have type 2 Diabetes. It is a slow insidious disease that is spreading across the world. But, maybe 24 Million people isn't enough to really worry about. Then let's add in the 78 Million American's who are in the pre-Diabetic category and without changes will become Diabetic in the next few years that gets us to over 100 Million Americans who will have Diabetes or about 1 in every 3-4 Americans. The good news is that more than 80% is preventable with lifestyle changes. So, as you celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday and give thanks for everything you have remember to also think about your ability to make choices. We are seeing the warning signs of bad nutrition leading to the next pandemic but will we take early action or wait to see if things get better?
Change will only come with accepting the responsibility for our circumstances and deciding that taking action is more important than the comfort of staying in the world we've created.