We are in the midst of an incredible transformation, but this social movement is not just a repeat of the 60s social revolution. There are key points to consider on why this transformation will be successful, and how it differs from the past efforts for long-term change.
First, we are talking about a total shift of all sectors of society. Previous social movements have been focused on just one cause, whether it is the abolition of slavery, women’s right to vote, or a specific anti-war movement. Social change at this time, however, is becoming an all-encompassing and all-inclusive social movement.
The reason for this sense of urgency for broad-based social change is there is a very critical need. We are beginning to realize that our future on this planet is not so certain, and the depth and the extent of the crisis is accelerating. After viewing the video “Changing the Dream” produced by the Pachamama Alliance, I was struck by the chilling statistics that describe how urgent the need for change is.
To put our current crisis in perspective, the basic human comforts of shelter, food, and running water and sewage treatment are only enjoyed by 17 percent of the entire global population. When 83 percent of the population does not have access to at least one of these basic needs, it is a shocking reminder that things need to change. Our conscious revolution will have a direct impact on the preservation of the human species and planet. This is not just a small point of aggravation we are protesting; we are participating in the overriding transformation of the world as we know it.
Why This Revolution Will Be Different
These are different times. Globalization, for better or worse, is a double-edged sword when it comes to its effects on cultures and traditions, and has brought about a human interconnectedness like we have never had before. Even 15 years ago it isn’t comparable to what it is now. This is a game-changer. The rules are different and a positive effect can be seen in our awareness and need to solve crisis around the world.
This evolving power of communication is so intense there might be a situation that occurs in Africa or India and 30 seconds later it’s on a blog in the United States or posted on Twitter by someone in South America. The world has access to information like never before. If we want to know what’s going on, it’s available. We have an instant awareness of numerous issues and the opportunity to voice our opinions and be heard.
Unlike social movements in the past, financial resources to spur on a revolution are no longer as necessary. Through crowd funding, social media communication and cooperation, anyone can have the power to join the movement at a grassroots level. And when the change we are asking for involves saving our planet and helping each individual enjoy their basic, human needs, it is becoming more difficult for people not to support these causes.
Coming to a Consensus for Change
In the very near future, those that are not onboard for positive change will not be part of the game. Now granted, there are topics like gun control and the militarization of the planet, which will take longer to alleviate with so many supporters resistant to change. But I do believe we are very close to coming to a consensus that cooperating for the good of our species and practicing environmental sustainability will soon be the societal norm.
We can see this already happening in our community efforts across the globe. Environmentalist and author, Paul Hawken demonstrated this in his “Blessed Unrest” talk, when he presented a scrolling list of 133,000 organizations around the world working for social and environmental justice. What’s exciting is that list has now been updated to list over 2 million organizations worldwide working to change the world. As Hawken says, “there is no precedent for what we are doing.”
As a human species we are realizing that we are all part of a grand movement. We are not a flawed or innately greedy species. Perhaps we have manifested this impression a great deal over our course of history, partially because it was easy to get away with it. The leaders of the next generation will not have made their money building bombs. This social movement is operating on an entirely different sociological scale.
Sociologist and author Peter Dreier said, “Every social movement has a division of labor.” This new movement, however, is not being led by an organization one can dissect. We are not going to have to depend on committees and the election of officials. This movement is widespread and spontaneous.
Organizations Working Together
This is the great experiment that the Conscious Collective (or C2) is trying to work within. I have brought together inspiring organizations to work together for the greater good while remaining true to their personal work. There is no organizational chart, no hierarchy, just an organic connection between people from groups like the Institute of Noetic Sciences, ITP-International, Greenheart International and the Theosophical Society. As we connect with more people, we see there are so many others focusing on creating communities for positive change. The potential to make an incredible impact takes on momentum as it builds in its own organic way. The structures and hierarchies of the past are no longer necessary as this new, self-organizing system builds itself.
It’s similar to the way that biological shifts occur. A perfect example is the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. In its metamorphosis, the emerging butterfly cells feed off the degenerating cells of the caterpillar. The butterfly doesn’t reject and deny this original state, but rather uses it for energy in its transformation. In our revolution, this radical inclusion will also be necessary. Bashing the old paradigm and rejecting the past is not going to help change society. In true transformation we must build on the old system and use it to feed the current shift in our society and species.
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” There is a great cry for help for humanity and from our planet, and it can’t be ignored. That is the transformative moral-value base that is changing throughout the entire planet, and that is why this social movement will be different this time.
Want to delve deeper into this conversation? Join me for a break out session at the IONS 16th Annual Conference where I, along with Andrea Dennis, will lead a workshop on Greenheart: When a Social Movement Fails, Start a New One.