Diversity is not an option

By Will Newman of Canby, Oregon. Will is a retired organic farmer & small business consultant, and a non-retired advocate for justice and equality.

I am a farmer, so I attempt to influence what grows where, and when. That’s called agriculture. Since I want to be a successful grower, I learn a lot from observing natural systems.

One of the first lessons learned is that we are not in charge. It's a simple lesson, learned the first season by any gardener. We are a part of nature, and the incredible complex dynamic balance that is the natural world.

Often the second lesson learned is that change is ongoing and unending. This is another simple lesson, usually not learned until the second season, when the “permanent” stuff we did last year proves to be not so permanent.

If we pay attention, and work hard, and are open to the changes going on, and stop fighting natural cycles, and learn how to observe, and, and, and… we eventually realize that diversity is not an option.

Given that change is unending, and that each organism responds in unique ways to adjust to any particular change, it follows that the more diverse the populations of living things, the greater the chance that positive responses to change, leading to positive outcomes, will occur.

And since most of us are looking for positive outcomes, it becomes clear that diversity is not an option. It is essential.

Diversity is essential in all living systems, including human. Diversity is the key to success: diverse cultures, diverse ideas, diverse physical characteristics, diverse abilities, diverse beliefs.

And we should glory in that diversity, celebrating the myriad possibilities, and the strength we derive from the mix of those possibilities.

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