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This is the blue and green planet, Earth. About 93 million miles away from its Sun, its surface is covered in rich seas, and vast lands that are utterly full of life. From the very smallest of microbial specks, to the very largest of oceanic mammals – my gosh, this place is beautiful.

Among it’s many inhabitants, are a species of primate that over millennium, developed a sense of self. They’ve built civilizations, mastered tools, have made countless discoveries and learned more about where they live than any other species prior. They looked to nature and asked questions, all for the sole reason to try and piece together how they got to be. It’s wonderful to think that the brain itself, is busy trying to contemplate it’s own inner workings – as well as the inner workings of the entire universe. I am one of these humans, and I am glad to share the Earth with everything else that calls it home.

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If you’ve ever been to Toronto or any other multicultural society, you quickly realize how incredibly diverse we are! Humanity is chalk full of different cultures, people, beliefs and traditions – some of which span back to our earliest of ancestors. In fact, it’s one of the aspects of society that I love most and find every so fascinating! We’re different, and that’s wonderful.

However, there’s a problem. Diversity within our society has led to the idea of ‘borders’ that feed an us and them, mentality. This segregation exists between race, as well as between the genders. Men and women are viewed different, while people of different cultures and beliefs can sometimes become confined to their own communities. What comes of this, is a split society, that as a whole, never once looks at life (that means us, as well as other animals/plants) as something that should universally be valued.

Freedom, safety and peace should be paramount to every single person on this planet. It breaks my heart to see someone live their life a certain way, simply because of the influence of what others deem to be ‘right’. More so than that, I would hope that each human being values the lives of others, just as much as I would hope that they value their own. Just because someone looks different or follows a different belief system, doesn’t mean that they aren’t human. They still feel the same loss when a loved one passes away, they still see the same wonder in the stars and they still have a life that the live each and every day.

So why then, do so many people hypocritically treat others with a lesser respect than they would like to receive themselves? Why should someone deem it necessary to kill another human being, for the sole sake of being a part of a different religion or race? Why should men and women face discrimination, simply because of a difference in sexes? Why do some cultures of the world think of themselves, as oppose to thinking of humanity as a whole? Have you ever been discriminated or treated differently because of a quality that you hold? I have, and let me be the first to tell you – I hate it.

Here is the crux of the matter. You, as a citizen of Earth, should have the right to believe whatever you want to believe about how we got here, as long as such a belief does NOT conflict with the circumstance (education, way of life, etc…) of another. You should have the right to live your life in anyway you want, as long as your actions do not put other living things at risk. You should be able to adhere to any culture you want, anywhere you want, as long as you understand that you are a part of a global society. One that has an equal right to call this place, home.

Life on Earth is the most wonderful thing that we know of occurring in our Universe, and we’re so very lucky to be here to bare witness to it all. This is our home, and we share it with everything (and everyone) else. Our friends, our family and our fellow Earthly inhabitants. Respect should be the engine that drives how one interacts with someone else, just as one should respect the sole opportunity of life.

I may sound very naive here with such a quote, but I truly do think that society would benefit from the underlying principle. Thus, I will end my passage with this:

“Treat everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are.”

If everyone understood the value encapsulated within this quote, I do not think it would even be necessary to be having this conversation. So the next time you find yourself not adhering to your own wishes for respect – take a step back and look at the person before you – not as different, but as a human being.

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