Maia looks at the escalation of positive change on the planet and highlights how you are pivotal to the outcome.
Have you noticed the shift in the global consciousness? More and more we are seeing signs of a turnaround. Fuelled by an explosion of organisations and movements dedicated to resolving the current crises. Fuelled by the internet. Fuelled by conversations around the barbeque. Fuel that is also finally galvanising the media into action (albeit slowly), which is absolutely crucial for accelerating change.
These changes are the result of people engaging in the process in some way.
“But change is too slow – too little, too late.” you may despair. Yes, that’s a scary potential BUT…we are approaching critical mass.
It begins slowly…slowly. Thoughts, words and actions feed awareness and change. Results fuel encouragement and more progress. The ripple effect exponentially expanding and accelerating until it reaches the point where, suddenly, it all starts to happen in a BIG way.
We are well on our way. When will we reach that turning point? Well, that’s up to you. Critical mass includes you! Your choices and actions can either help speed it up, or slow it down. There’s a wonderful African saying, ‘When you pray, move your feet.’ It’s action that will bring about the answer to our collective prayers. The time for apathy, procrastination and immobilisation through despair is over. Fortunately, we are collectively finding better ways to coordinate and propel our individual efforts.
Even those who say “I’m too busy” can do a lot more than they realise – initiating discussions in online and offline social and business networks. Word of mouth is powerful, and there’s plenty worthwhile to talk about – not the least how easy it is to sign online petitions and how successfully they are producing change.
Share any inspired ideas you’ve had…good ideas have to start somewhere and they can’t amount to anything if they stay in your head. Even if you can’t evolve an idea yourself, someone else might be able to pick up the ball and run with it, so why not put it out there?
Proof of this trend is how many organisations have sprung up over the last few years – Avaaz, The Sum of Us, Change, GetUp! And many more. These are basically independent social movement platforms harnessing the internet to bring like-minded people together to bring participation back into democracy.
The increasing number of these types of organisations sends a very loud and clear message to governments that change is needed. There’s a saying, ‘where the people lead, their leaders eventually must follow.’
And while some are going through the front door, others are using the side door. There are stunningly successful examples of empowerment through participatory democracy, in Iceland, Norway and Sweden just for starters.
UN Habitat Special Advisor, Mr Nicholas You, believes it’s about looking at processes that break the ‘business as usual’ cycle – and empowerment through participatory democracy is proving successful.
“There are examples of consultation with empowerment from developing countries, where they have a participatory budget. The city sets aside a percentage of the budget for the priorities the community has identified.
“Once there’s an enabling structure and ownership of the process is invested with people you begin to see some pretty surprising solutions.
“The public authority says ‘right, we’re handing over the decision making process to you, but we can only respect your priorities if you engage in the consultative process.”
“It was the people who started chipping down the Berlin Wall, not the Government.”
On a systemic level, the call is for a paradigm shift in governance and economics – designing our economies to meet our social goals, not vice versa; with more participatory processes to engage and empower the community.
On an individual level, we need to become more informed – that it’s a duty to be better informed, take action, demand change!
According to Green Cross International’s founder, Mikhail Gorbachev, “More than ever we need to build a strong public consensus in support of peaceful, just and sustainable solutions to the crises which threaten our future.”
“It is our job to make this voice louder and stronger, and ensure it reaches the people with the power to make changes. World public opinion is now considered a superpower in its own right, and we have a responsibility to make use of this power to drive positive action for a sustainable future.”
Add the push being made by people who are in a position of influence, and the picture looks even brighter. High profile people like Richard Branson and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Google head honchos, Hollywood stars like Pierce Brosnan and Leonardo Di Caprio, as well as countless others who aren’t well known but who are making the most of their capacity to shape the future.
There are ‘electrifying’ developments and plenty of innovation happening around the world that reflects how just one or a handful of people can create a shift in the ‘business as usual’ modus operandi. Take the fabulous Telsa Roadster for example – a very funky, high performing, all electric sports car, and the new Tesla battery that will be able to easily power homes off the grid.
It’s also wonderful to see how the likes of the Conde Nast building, Four Times Square (New York), has forced mainstream developers, investors and corporate tenants to sit up and take notice. The stunningly successful, sustainable skyscraper has set a new benchmark for development. Running costs are lower, impact on the environment is greatly reduced, occupancy is high, employees are happier and more productive and a big selling point, power blackouts don’t affect the building at all. It has put a permanent dent in the old paradigm and kick-started a trend of green developments in New York and beyond.
These are just a little taste from the countless examples of where we are heading.
It is said that if you give people information, incentive and opportunity, they tend to act. Well, you now have some new information and incentive to freshly inspire you – you know what to do! Look around you and you’ll see opportunities to make a difference. With very little effort, you can do so much to help shape the future. YOU play an important role in the new world superpower. The future really is in your hands.