The world is changing, Jed Diamond writes, and we should too.
In his book, A Vision for 2012, futurist John Petersen he says, “Converging trends strongly suggest that the world – and our country – are about to experience the greatest change and disruption known in our history. The next half dozen years will likely see rapid, global climate change coupled with the beginning of the end of the petroleum era and a reorganization of the planetary energy regime, a major shock to the global financial system, and unprecedented food prices.”
Here are seven things you can do now to make this year the best ever:
1. Open your eyes, your mind, and your heart to the reality of the change.
Most people live in denial. We see what we want to see. We accept what the major media tells us. We would rather “eat, drink, and be merry” than see the tidal wave of change that is upon us.
“People don’t seem to realize it that it is not like we’re on the Titanic and we have to avoid the iceberg,” says Rob Watson, CEO and Chief Scientist of The EcoTech International Group, who Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tom Friedman calls one of the best environmental minds in America. “We’ve already hit the iceberg. The water is rushing in down below. But some people just don’t want to leave the dance floor; others don’t want to give up on the buffet. But if we don’t make the hard choices, nature will make them for us.”
We don’t need to be afraid of change, but we must accept that the changes we are experiencing will have a major impact on our lives.
2. Remember that preparation is 65% mental, 20% physical, and 15% fiscal.
Most people, as noted, will remain in denial. They would rather stay on the ship, dancing and eating, than make preparations. Those who are willing to prepare often go about it back-ass-words. They worry about their money, spend time following the gold market, or looking for some safe investment overseas. I’m not saying that money issues aren’t important, they are, but not as important as physical and mental preparation.
How does one prepare mentally? Well let’s start with accepting that no matter what we do, we’re all going to die. It may not be on December 21, 2012, but none of us will escape death. We don’t have to grab more and more in a vain attempt to survive at any cost. We can relax into the future. It can be a comfort when we realize that we don’t have to prevent the unpreventable.
To prepare physically is to learn to live with less. We live on a finite planet with limited resources. Yet, we’ve been using our water, land, minerals, and other supplies as though they were limitless. Though we’ll have less “stuff,” we can still have more love, support, companionship, and all the things that money can’t buy.
3. Put down your roots in your community.
If you haven’t already, find the place you intend to live for the next 20 or 30 years and put down roots. With the changes that are coming down you want to be in a place where you will have a great deal of social support. Throughout human history, humans have been suspicious of strangers and supportive of those people they know well.
Make connections with like-minded people in your community. In our town of Willits, California, 5 years ago we created WELL, the Willits, Economic LocaLization Group to prepare for the coming changes. You can check out what we do at www.Well95490.org.
4. Commit to healing the important relationships in your life.
We are social beings. When our important social relationships are dysfunctional or unhappy, we are vulnerable to all kinds of problems. As stress increases in the world, those people who have joyful relationships with their spouse, parents, children, cousins, friends, etc. will likely prosper. Those who do not are likely to have a much more difficult time. Recent research has shown the surprising ways in which our social relationships shape our lives.
It’s never too late to heal a relationship that has been neglected. Remember, your life may depend on how close you are to your spouse, your parents, or your children. Most of us have one or two family members or friends where the relationship has become strained or broken. Don’t wait. Reach out and heal those relationships. You’ll be glad you did.
5. Learn to honor and respect those you most strongly disagree with.
We can’t afford to live in a world where we see ourselves surrounded by enemies who we can never learn to get along with. In a world that is becoming increasingly complex, one way to simplify things is to become oppositional. If we divide the world into “good guys” and “bad guys” we can simplify things. It’s easy to fall into the trap of “I’m right” and “you’re wrong.”
The problem with that attitude is that it creates gridlock. We see it in our government. “If he’s for it, we’re against it.” Meanwhile the citizens are caught in the middle as are representatives trade insults. One of the reason people are taking to the streets and organizing the 99% is because they are tired of an “us” vs. “them” mentality. The next step is to invite the 1% to join us. The world works best when we all share more equally. A country that has a rich ruling class and a lot of people of poor people doesn’t work well for the poor or the rich.
6. Get in shape. Those who survive and thrive the coming changes will be the ones who get healthy now.
Surviving and thriving with the changes that are coming will require you to be at your very best—physically, emotionally, interpersonally, socially, economically, and spiritually. Like all pioneers you will face many difficulties in your new life. I want us to survive and prosper, but here’s what I’m seeing:
- Most of us are overweight. Our big belly gets in the way.
- Most of us don’t have the aerobic capacity to run for our lives.
- Most of us aren’t strong enough to lift, push, and pull ourselves out of harm’s way.
- Most of us are not flexible enough to live well in the world of the future.
- Most of us are so sleep deprived that we are a danger to ourselves and others.
- Most of us are so stressed out with daily survival we have little energy left for ourselves and our families.
We all make New Year’s resolutions about losing weight and staying in shape. They often don’t last until March. But we have an extra incentive this year. We are entering a new era, one that is different than anything we’ve ever experiencing. We need to be in the best shape of our lives. Hey, what could be better than getting in the best shape of our lives? Let’s make this New Year’s resolution a reality.
7. Let go of our addiction to Empire and return to our roots in the Earth Community.
Although I have been a scientist for most of my adult life, I recognize that much of the important things we need to learn in life come from our intuition. I’ve learned to trust these moments of insight. One such insight occurred for me in 1995 while sitting in a “sweat lodge” at a men’s conference in Indiana.
I had a vision that showed me that the “ship of civilization” was sinking and a new way of life was emerging that would allow us to let go of our addictive practices that had developed over the last 5,000 years in which humans have tried to dominate the planet. That same year I read an important book, by David C. Korten, called When Corporations Rule the World. It showed clearly why our business practices were unsustainable and would likely crash.
I’ve been following Korten’s work since then. Here’s how he describes his current thinking on his website. I believe it offers our best hope for the future.
“We humans,” says Korten, “are Creation’s most daring experiment with reflectiveconsciousness. This gift is the source of our distinctive capacity to choose our future as an intentional collective act. For some 5,000 years, we have demonstrated our ability to use this capacity foolishly at an enormous cost to ourselves and to other living beings. We must now take the step to a new level of species maturity and demonstrate our ability to act with collective wisdom and foresight.” We can change the human course by changing the framing stories of our dominant culture. The prevailing Empire stories celebrate the individualism, violence and greed that express the pathologies of our collective human immaturity, while denying the potentials for community, love, and nurturing service that define our more mature human nature. The turning from Empire to Earth Community depends on changing these stories through conversations that make public the transformative inner wisdom we posses as individuals. Institutional change will follow naturally.
It’s a great time to be alive. I look forward to our continued journey together.