Understanding What's Really Important
The first step is to acknowledge that the old 20th century idea of how to make the community thrive, can't continue to work in this 21st century. Something needs to change.
We can do much for ourselves and for the planet if we choose our goals more wisely. But some things are difficult today because of bad governance and faulty economics and a lack of global awareness. Humanity needs to be more conscious of what happens when we make choices.
In a democracy, each of has some personal responsibility for the decisions the community we live in makes. Of course the quality of democracy in almost every country is poor. In reality the will of the people is manipulated and people are fed with propaganda and the system is stacked against what the general population require for their best interests.
Acting on Our Knowledge
Science has taught us that we can be masters of our own future if we act on the knowledge we have. Since we're talking about the future, there are still large unknowns, but we do know enough to act now and we have good understanding that early correction to the problems we are causing will be far less expensive than trying to do it later. Failure to act impoverishes not only our future selves, but also future generations. To date our failure to address the situation is shameful. The world needs bold leadership at government level, in national politics, in business and in local communities. The task ahead of us is immense. Without strong public awareness and support for the current science, politicians will continue to backslide to disaster. Humanity can save itself, but it requires a change of mind and a change of action. Business as usual is a global plan for mutual destruction.
Creating this Disaster Together
Look how people respond to disasters. Think of the 130,000 people who were lost to the Banda Aceh Tsunami in Indonesia (Dec 2004), and the 20,000 lost to a similar event in Japan (March 2011). How did people respond? They started to build again. Human beings can be very stoic and courageous and heroic when disaster strikes. The question we have to answer, is how heroic can we be in preventing an even greater disaster, that we have been making for ourselves? We have to find a way to make everyone aware of the danger, and the need for each of us to act every day to make better decisions about how we live our lives. The people destroying the Earth have names, and addresses, and they live close to you. It's not "them" it's "us" that's causing the problem.
We all want to live lives that have meaning and purpose and some dignity. That's true if we live in the USA, or China or the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Somalia. In a just world where poverty is eliminated, we should still all be able to live well.
Many Groups; One Problem
There are many international groups focusing on the new problems the world is facing. Amnesty International, Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, Friends of the Earth, the Environmental Defence Fund, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 350.org, The World Mayors Council, and the Global Commons Institute, to name just a few. Two years ago I became involved with a group called Four Years Go. That was in February 2010. The Four Years Go. proposal was that the world needed to have a change of political and economic, and social direction and it needed to happen quickly. Hence the objective was to set a time frame, four years, and to get on with it, Go. Sadly Four Years, Go. did not capture the public imagination, the way it captured mine. Rather that become the leading orgnaisation trying to get the paradigm to shift, Four Years, Go. is just one more of hundreds and perhaps thousands of such initiatives. Can we turn the corner before February 2014? It looks unlikely, but then so did the fall of the Berlin wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Arab Spring. Most of the necessary elements of the new paradigm already exist, and are being practised and recommended. When those ideas are widely spread and accepted, suddenly shift will happen. Another world is possible.
When you look at what many of these organisations are trying to achieve, we come down to some simple things. The Earth and the diversity of life on Earth should be sustained. Human beings need to learn how to use the Earth in a sustainable manner. At the same time human beings or their political representatives need to find a way to bring both social and economic justice to ordinary people wherever they live on Earth.
Economic + Sustainable + Social
It is possible to create a thriving world. We begin by changing ourselves. We can try to live lightly on the planet, by choosing a set of enduring values, by setting high standards for ourselves and by talking to others about how we are motivated to live this way. We can pay attention to what's happening and we can develop our own voice, in action, so we can play a full part in becoming the future we need to build.
Open future™ Limited believes that this is something we can do. Four Years, Go. put it this way; "Our objective is to create a thriving, just, and sustainable way of life for all". We can do that, but only if somehow we can discover that new paradigm that the world needs.