Hopeful trends to build on in 2012

As the new year – the oddly fabled year of 2012 – is upon us, all sorts of people are making predictions, making wishes, making commitments (as well as making money, making trouble, making plans…).

I like the approach of Sarah van Gelder, editor of the excellent possibility-filled YES! magazine. She has identified a dozen hopeful trends from 2011 and extended them into 2012, noting that they are likely to intensify in the coming year. What makes her approach different from predictions and wishes is that what happens with these trends is totally up to us. We are all going to co-create what happens in 2012, whatever it may be.

This is even clearer to me as I finish reading Louis Fischer’s THE LIFE OF MAHATMA GANDHI and begin Nathan Stoltzfus’ RESISTANCE OF THE HEART. The latter book tells the story of 2000 Jews that the Gestapo arrested and herded into a holding center in the heart of Berlin in February 1943, headed for Auschwitz. Hundreds of their spouses, mostly women, publicly protested in the face of Nazi power, refused to back down – and won the release of their partners. This, the only mass public protest in Germany against Hitler’s attempt to kill all European Jews, demonstrates once more the power of determined passion (and makes us wonder what would have happened if such protests had occurred earlier and more widely, from people who weren’t direct relatives…).

How much passion and determination are we each and all ready to bring to the challenges and opportunities of 2012? Both the challenges and opportunities are expanding rapidly.

Just for one example: I want to expand on Sarah’s points 1, 3, and 7 about American politics, because radical, totally new forms of political and electoral involvement are emerging. One group is crowdsourcing the choice of a presidential candidate. Another is crowdsourcing (in a rather sophisticated way) three to-be-designed-by-we-the-people transpartisan bills which every candidate will need to agree to vote for soon after taking office. Others are seriously proposing national Constitutional Assemblies and other radical initiatives (some of which will be featured in my book coming out next year). I think that business-as-usual elections may soon look very different than what we’ve been used to for two hundred years….

So I join with Sarah in thanking the Occupy Movement for kicking open the doors of possibility. What now? It’s time to move through them into a very different, much better era that we’ve all made together.

Blessings on the Journey we’re all on…




The 12 Most Hopeful Trends to Build On in 2012

by Sarah van Gelder

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