The Inner Revolution has been about the personal inner change that I believe must take place inside each and everyone of us if we are to live truly fulfilling lives while creating a more harmonious, constructive and loving relationship with ourselves and the planet. The Outer Revolution is all about the outside world and where we are headed as a society and a species. It’s about growing our awareness so we can change our systems and our relationship with the planet.
Our current way of producing and consuming today is completely unsustainable and our global business and government leaders know this. The international scientific community have explained that we are facing very real problems today that no other generation has faced on this scale ever before. Catastrophic problems involving the degradation of environment and all habitats (species extinction, rampant pollution, climate change, top soil erosion, coral reef bleaching), the dysfunction of the economy requiring unending growth on a finite planet (exponential national and personal debt), and not to mention peak oil among other systems in decay.
We are at an extremely important crossroads in our very short history of civilisation. Today we are on the verge of undermining the ecological foundations of the entire planet if we do not change our ways quickly and radically. The next 20 years are going to be completely unlike anything we have ever seen before on this planet. Massive change is already upon us. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in November 2007 stated very clearly that “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global sea level.” The international scientific community have recognised that almost everything ecosystem, habitat and species are now in decline. In Lord Stern’s report on the economics of climate change he described the consequences of our current global capitalism upon the environment as “the greatest market failure the world has ever seen”.
On the global scale our inability to agree legally binding measures and targets such as the Kyoto Protocol to reduce polluting activities has meant it is business as usual and all the above problems are reaching tipping points. Points of no return. Today in 2012, we are currently consuming 1.5 planets per year. We are living beyond the planetary boundaries of earth. Stealing natural resources from future to meet the so called needs of current society.
Our monetary system and our supposed need for relentless growth are at the heart of the problem. Our government and business leaders encourage the relentless consumption stuff to satisfy the needs of shareholders in the pursuit of short term profits. We still operate today completely disconnected from this fact and are heading for a massive crash.
All these dysfunctional systems are connected. Connected by our low level of consciousness, our values, our ignorance and denial. We believe we are somehow separate from nature, that we don’t need her while we live in our concrete jungles. That we can control her. This is simply not true and this thinking will be our fatal mistake if we don’t change our ways, and fast.
Our False God
Our economic monetary system and the economy has become our false God. The economy, greed, power and control have become more important than the needs of the people and the planet. Proof of this is the two billion people, almost 30% of the population living on less than two dollars a day and the outright destruction of the environment in pursuit of economic growth. Corporate greed and the relentless pursuit of quarterly profit earnings are destroying the very foundations it needs, we all need, to survive on. That being a healthy natural world and prosperous society.
Instead we are creating vast social and financial in-equalities throughout the world including the West. The UK and the USA have some of the worst social and financial inequalities on the planet! Today in our society, success and status is measured by material wealth gathered by an individual, not by social or environmental contribution. The priority of personal well being and a healthy environment are a distant second to the needs of the global economy and the mandate of the corporation to make a profit for its shareholders no matter how.
Our consumer society targets from a very early age, children with messages to buy this and buy that, it will make you happy. One product placement after another. The machine never stops manufacturing false desires and so the bombardment of messages never stops. But the magic triangle of manufacture, credit and advertising developed in the 1920’s to create false needs is breaking because of the power of awareness and consciousness.
Systemic Dysfunction…Where are we heading?
Pick any sector, any business and I will demonstrate how today’s MBA (Masters of Business Administration) culture is working, perhaps unintentionally, against the greater cause of humanity and the environment as opposed to with it. As opposed to working in harmony with and rejuvenating planet earth. Pick any ecosystem or habitat and I will demonstrate how we are destroying it instead of nurturing it into health because of our ignorant industrious systems, processes and actions.
Some examples are the devastation of the Niger delta in Nigeria over the past thirty or forty years by the oil companies amassing of wealth and yet the extreme poverty still faced by the local population. The devastation by the same oil companies in search of oil in the tar sands of Alberta, Canada (Alberta Tar Sands). The ‘land grabbing’ by companies and countries from the poorer countries in Africa (buying millions of hectares of land for $1 per hectare) to grow food, energy crops and extract minerals for their own personal benefits. Displacing whole communities and populations in the process. Is that fair? Where is the corporate social responsibility or sustainable business practice in any of these cases? Or the world’s industrial fishing fleets that are wastefully emptying the oceans of its fish until there are will be no fish left and so no livelihoods, jobs, money or food. The collapse of the Atlantic cod in the 1990’s is the first example of this. Or the toxic oil laden food and textile growing processes that use vast amounts of land, water and oil based chemicals (fertilizers etc) for the textiles and food industries. Food being produced supposedly in the most cost efficient industrial way, however, there are indeed huge costs to society (diabetes, obesity due to very poor nutritional content) to farmers (debt) animals (mad cow disease, cow infertility from growth hormones, bee pollination crash) and the planet (soil degradation, pollution and climate change) who are actually paying for these supposedly hidden costs. Or the coral reefs of the world that are dying or dead from over pollution or the gigantic plastic jiars in the pacific ocean the size of a continent destroying all sea life.
Our short term thinking is so bad that we believe forests are worth more to us dead as timber than alive as living ecosystems providing fresh water, medicinal plants, food, oxygen, carbon sequestration, climate regulation, habitat for pollinators and rain water to name just a few of the services. Injustices whereby CEO’s and senior management are not held criminally accountable for the atrocities their companies perform, either accidentally or on purpose. In my opinion this industrialised corporate way of thinking is narrow, short sighted and unsustainable. This cannot go on any longer.
There are other ways that meet the needs of current and future generations that are more sustainable for the planet and for society. These new ways I describe in the second book, The Outer Revolution. I do believe it is better to focus our time and energy on creating alternatives to the current dysfunctional products, processes and services we have today. To make them obsolete through offering superior solutions, than to try and stop the existing model and the vested interests of the old school thinking that support them.
As I look out at the larger world and society as a whole today, I am partly saddened because I believe the reason why our civilization is in the mess it is in has to do with our lack of values. We have a crisis in values. A systemic disease that permeates every facet of our society and how we act. We have the awareness, the intelligence and the technology to tackle these major problems. What we lack is moral values and ethics in our society. We lack honest integral leadership at the top of government and business supported by ethical values and a clear vision that meets and serves the needs of all not the few. These leaders with their amoral values, driven by their egos are at the heart of our dysfunctional world along with their insatiable appetite for power, control and greed.
This value disorder permeates government, the media, education, health, food, energy, finance, manufacturing, everything. A systemic values disorder that is like a disease infecting all our minds, our lives and how we should really be in the world as beautiful creative human beings.
Psychiatrist Stanislav Grof sums up the point I am trying to make regarding our society and the change in values and ways that is required if we are to save ourselves and the planet. (Well, the planet will still be here, but we won’t!)
“The two most powerful psychological forces in human history have been without doubt violence and greed… In the course of this century, we have often witnessed more major scientific and technological breakthroughs within a single decade, or even a single year, than people in early historical periods experienced in an entire century. however, these astonishing intellectual successes have brought the modern society to the brink of global catastrophe, since they were not matched by a comparable growth of emotional and moral maturity. We have the dubious privilege of being the first species in natural history that has achieved the capacity to eradicate itself and destroy in this process all life in the planet. …Modern science has developed effective means that could solve most of the urgent problems in today’s world- combat the majority of diseases, eliminate hunger and poverty, reduce the degree of natural waste, and replace destructive fossil fuels by renewable sources of clean energy. The problems that stand in the way are not of economic or technological nature; their deepest sources lie inside the human personality. Because of them, unimaginable resources have been wasted in the absurdity of the arms race, power struggle, and pursuit of unlimited growth. They also prevent a more appropriate distribution of wealth among individuals and nations, as well as a reorientation from purely economic and political concerns to ecological priorities that are critical for the survival of life on this planet”. Stanislav Grof – Consciousness Evolution and Planetary Survival.
Heightened Awareness, Elevated Consciousness, A Brighter Future
I sincerely believe we have to devise another path to prosperity that does not rely on unlimited growth and consumption of the planets resources. I do believe another world is possible that isn’t only about money but family, community and the environment. That creates shared value and employs cooperative business models. A world where the power and money is removed from the ruling elite and brought back into equilibrium, into the hands of the masses not the few. A society that operates within the boundaries of the planet. I don’t want to see the year 2012 marking the beginning of the sixth mass extinction (anthropocene period) but the rise of a new sense of consciousness of humanity.
The Inner Revolution within all of us is vital to creating a critical mass of people that have evolved levels of awareness and consciousness and are will to communicate their dissatisfaction with the current system. I believe we must take steps in our worlds to further change the current dominant business paradigm. Today, the old school of thinking and vested interests are being replaced with new thinking from more enlightened and social conscious and aware human beings that work less from the ego (power, greed, control) and more from their heart, their intuition (harmony, compassion, love).
Our civilisation is at a crossroads and we can go two ways. One is a slow path to extinction like 98% of all other species or we can wake up. Become aware. Realise our errors fast and prioritize the necessary changes that need to take place locally and globally.
Thankfully there is a positive side to our humanity. There is another movement that has been building in size since the sixties. Both James Redfield in The Celestine Prophecy and Paul Hawken in Blessed Unrest have written about this movement. A critical mass that is growing worldwide. Its happening now, by me writing this book and by you reading it and by us sharing our thoughts with others within your sphere of influence. Through this activity alone we are growing this critical mass. This is all part of the movement and growth of human consciousness.
Paul Hawken, in his book Blessed Unrest speaks of one to two million environmental and social organisations now operating around the world that focus on serving the needs of humankind and the environment. Working in health, education, the environment, agriculture, teaching, healing, all with similar values, relating to service, preservation, integrity, justice and equality of people and planet. The people working in these groups now amount to between one hundred and two hundred million people. (Visit www.wiserearth.org). This segment of society, I call them ‘change agents’ are acting on behalf of planet earth as its immune system to protect the earth and speak up against the crimes committed against the earth and the people. These change agents, have a feeling an innate urge inside them, a knowing that they must do something with their lives to help make a difference. That time is running out and that their time is NOW. This is their calling. The nine to five drudgery of a office job just for money is no longer enough. Its no longer an option. Their spirit, their soul has deeper needs and these can only be met by service. Another modern day example of this movement is Avaaz (www.avaaz.org) an online community donation based group that works on social, environmental, corruption and other campaigns to make positive change happen in the world with the support of petition and global citizens around the world. Avaaz already has 10 million supporters today and is growing.
I am part of this movement that is now rising up and speaking out against the injustices that are taking place today within all segments of society and the environment under the banner of globalisation, economic progress and the monetary system. Within this segment of society the level of global consciousness is rising sharply as more and more people are becoming acutely aware of global issues that they see, hear and read about in their daily lives. Issues that affect their lives negatively. These same people are healing themselves, educating themselves, becoming self empowered and joining with like minded people to discuss and speak out about the issues that really matter.
The occupy movement around the world is another example of this earth movement, this revolution, expressing its dissatisfaction with how corporations conduct business both at home and abroad. This dissatisfaction is just the beginning to be heard but it has been there some years. The revolution now will not go away until there is constructive change.
If the very fabrics we rely on, the environment, its fragile ecosystems are destroyed, there will be no more (cheap) food, water, energy, medicine, and clothing. Once we sincerely understand that the integrity of our own personal existence and that of our children and grandchildren are completely and utterly reliant on how we interact with each other and the planet, only then can we have a chance to create and build a sustainable society based on values that serve the greater whole and not just the few.
We as human beings, have control over the rules of this capitalist game that is destroying both our environment and the very fabric of our society. This is in our hands not alien hands but ours. Part of the problem lies in the vested interests of our financial short-termism for greed and profits.
We can and must change the rules of the game, rules of investment. Awareness is the first step towards action. We must first eliminate ignorance and denial. People are learning and realising there are other ways to meet our current that needs without diminishing the quality of life and possibilities of the next generations. Solutions such as renewable clean energy, polyculture and permaculture, vast cooperative movements, zero emissions electric public transport and buildings, ecocide and crimes against the planet, government issued as opposed to privately issued money, holistic healthcare not pill popping healthcare, circular closed loop industrial systems and processes whereby waste actually means food for another (sector) as it does in nature. In my book, The Outer Revolution, I cover these solutions and more as a way to acknowledge the existing system, thinking and paradigm is broken and as a way to create dialogue and action regards new ways of producing, consuming and being.
Please do write any comments or suggestions in the box below so we can further discuss and act upon the challenges we are now facing.