Saturday, 9 June 2012

So you want to save the world?

This Saturday I am meeting with a small group of people and if you ask me what brings us together I fear that any attempt I make will fall way short of encapsulating what this is all about. But I'll give it a shot. We, the members of this group, have looked at the world as it stands today and where it is heading, we have awakened to the devastating crisis that looms and we have decided to do something about it. We believe that humans can and should do something rather than letting nature take its inevitable course.

People often ask "so what you been up to lately?", and I admit to feeling a bit lame, even embarrassed, to simply say "I've joined a group and we are going to save the world!" On the other hand when I talk openly with people about what I do think about the world I mostly find that others generally agree that something is not quite right and that it can't keep going on like this forever. Not many people can, after some reflection, deny that we are consuming ourselves out of existence and that while the party is going on some are having a much better time than others.

Sadly what I encounter, in most people though, is a resignation that there is nothing that can be done about it. Some admittedly are preparing the lifeboats. Most though open there eyes for an occasional glimpse of the undeniable reality but quite happily go back to sleep so that they can get on with life. So the dream state in which so many of our people, institutions and systems operate persists. Perhaps the saddest part of all is that a significant number of people don't want to fully confront the situation that we find ourselves in because they genuinely believe that human nature is such that greed, competition, gluttony, selfishness, tribalism, war and violence will always dominate or at least sabotage any attempts to create a world of sharing, cooperation, moderation, selflessness, equality, peace and love.

Essentially, and being a bit more forgiving of ourselves, mostly people are so trapped by the current modus operandi that they simply do not have the time to contemplate the necessity, the beauty and the possibility of a world that is sustainable and equitable. A world that would allow all of us to be wholly human.

Over the last few months, having the luxury of more time than usual for contemplation, as I have been waking up to the dire situation that humanity finds itself in and investigating the current level of human response and activity, I have come to realise a few very sobering facts. Firstly, that a full understanding of the crisis, it's causes and essential required changes have been well known and openly documented for many decades. Similarly, so have efforts to stop the rot and save the world. Furthermore, some very eloquent and well respected individuals and some well supported and financial groups have been shouting loudly from the rooftops. For one example, read David Suzuki's Declaration of Interdependence and then consider for how long and how far this man has been spreading this ineluctable message. Also, consider the Earth Charter, launched in 2000 after a decade of world wide cross-cultural participation and it's widely endorsed call to to action. Finally, have a look at Paul Hawken on Youtube presenting to an ecstatic crowd the launch of the Blessed Unrest at the Bioneers Conference in 2006. If there are hundreds of thousands of groups around the world working for the environment and social justice and six years later the environment continues to be destroyed and human suffering continues unabated can you please tell me what is worth celebrating. None of these people or groups have by any measure ignited a global people movement that is effecting any serious outrage or systemic change. The world is in a much worse state now than when it started navel gazing at it's finite nature and limits to growth some decades ago. If you want to argue with me on that point go to and do a few minutes of clock watching!

So the point I am trying to make is this - if any group of people is working on saving the world, then what must be considered upfront, is that this is a mission to get over 7 billion humans to wake up to the errors of our current ways of thinking and acting and to make what essentially is a 180 degree about turn. Others smarter, richer and more influential have failed in the recent past, so we also must accept that there is no point simply repackaging the same message and modes of action and expecting that it will work this time. To create the change, that we and others envisage, will require a brand new irrefutable world view, an irresistible destination and frictionless path of action that is bigger and better than ever before. Otherwise we are just pissing in the wind!

No comments:

Post a Comment