With the UK drying off after having felt the impending impacts of climate change, and as political and social unrest continue to flare up globally, the changes needed to create more peaceful and fair societies on an environmentally sustainable planet, can seem distant
Even from my vantage point of immersion in stories of progress and promise, it can sometimes feel like society is stubbornly stuck in outmoded ways of going about things. Change can feel painfully slow. From our current terms of reference, we’re not going to make it.
But that’s the point: we need new terms of reference, a new understanding about what’s possible and how it can be done, if we are to create a more fulfilling world.
The emerging ‘sharing economy’ is one such marker. As Impossible.com founder Lily Cole says in her interview: “Now, given the power of business and the effect of the internet, we can actually opt to be part of different economic structures simultaneously.”
And as gift economy pioneer Mark Boyle reminds us, looking to share, co-operate and connect can be done “just for the love of it”. After all, what better reference point is there for what might be possible, than that which excites and satisfies us most?
There is uncertainty as we move forward with one foot in the ‘old’ and one in the ‘new’. But we should “trust the process,” our positive psychology columnist Chris Johnston advises, and recognise that change involves stages of disbelief before we reach breakthroughs.
So just as rival parties can collaborate to forge consensus on a new, progressive constitution for troubled Tunisia; just as the small Dongria Kondh tribe in India can win protection of their land from a giant mining corporation, we can change our sense of what’s possible. In doing so we change the outcome.
As Nelson Mandela famously said: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
This editorial appeared in the spring 2014 print edition of Positive News. To receive a copy, please become a member