I think there is only one thing. Young people will have hope when they see that society as a whole is passionately committed to transitioning to a life-affirming global culture, rather than continuing on our present course of ecological self-destruction and societal breakdown.
How would they know that this commitment exists?
Just as in wartime everyone speaks about the war, so people everywhere would be talking about the positive goal of transitioning to a life-affirming global culture. Politicians would affirm this as our primary goal (rather than economic growth). They would justify policy decisions on the basis of their contribution to evolving a life-affirming culture. Both NGOs and businesses would frame their work as a contribution to transitioning to a life-affirming culture. The media would regularly report on improvements in environmental indicators (while noting how much more we have to do).
Vision needs understanding and for the vision of transitioning to a life-affirming global culture to have practical meaning, people need to understand what is involved − and see how they can contribute to the transformation within their own sphere of influence. The changes needed to pull us out of our current ecological nosedive are massive (and wonderful!). My article Understanding Whole System Change explains what is involved, and gives examples of practical action at every level from childrearing to industrial design to global governance.
How might we act to make hope realistic for young people?
We can make hope realistic by communicating through our networks to inspire mainstream commitment to transitioning to a life-sustaining society… and helping people to think through what is involved.
Each of us can do this through our own initiative. There is no need to join – or form – a massive organisation. Seeing what is needed, we can just get on with the job. Please do!
Ready-to-use communication tools are available through the Resources section of the Great Transition Initiative website. They include sample emails, workshop designs, guerrilla marketing tactics and Kitchen Table Conversations.
Let’s align for a massive influence
Although none of our networks are large in absolute terms, when we include friends, clients, business colleagues and their extended networks, the combined network of the whole environmental/progressive/consciousness movement is huge. Applying Design Thinking to Large-Scale Social Change shows a simple way we can align to vastly amplify our collective influence.
The ultimate test of effectiveness
Ultimately, the test is “are we living within planetary boundaries?” Have we evolved a society that cares for people, communities and nature?
Andrew Gaines FRSA is a Board member of Be The Change Australia and the instigator of the Great Transition Initiative. The GTI is a platform for citizen-education to inspire mainstream commitment to transitioning to a life-affirming global culture.