Monday, October 01, 2007

The Story of David Korten

David Korten

It is scarcely news that we live in troubled times. We are just beginning, however, to grasp the reality that business as usual is over. A mounting perfect economic storm born of a convergence of peak oil, climate change, and an imbalanced U.S. economy dependent on debts it can never repay is poised to bring a dramatic restructuring of every aspect of modern life, including in these United States.

Whether ours proves to be a time of terminal crisis or epic opportunity will depend on how we as a species understand the roots of the unfolding tragedy and the nature of the choices before us. A positive outcome depends on dialogues such as this.

Indeed, we can take heart from the fact that similar conversations are taking place throughout the United States and the world. The particular motivating focus may be global climate change, racism, peace, democracy, spiritual renewal, peak oil, economic justice, or any number of similar topics. Each, however, deals with a need for deep changes in our relationship to one another and Earth. I call these conversations Earth Community Dialogues, because they converge on the same imperative — creating communities of place that recognize the interdependence of all life.

MY JOURNEY

I find it useful to start my presentation by reviewing a bit of the personal story that led me to the insights I will be sharing with you. But first, a question. How many of us here are over sixty? As you are all aware our generation has lived through an extraordinary shrinking of geographical space and expansion of intercultural exchange and communication.

My life illustrates both in a rather dramatic way. I grew up in a small, conservative town in Washington State where my family owned a music and appliance store. I grew up assuming this is where I would spend my life. I rarely saw a person of a different race and never met a Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist. Never in my wildest imagination did it occur to me that as an adult I would reside for 21 years outside the United States in East Africa, Central America, and Southeast Asia experiencing humanity’s wondrous diversity.

I went abroad on a mission to end global poverty by sharing the secrets of U.S. business success. Many years later I came to the deeply disturbing conclusion that far from creating universal prosperity the economic models that drove the organizations for which I worked abroad were producing devastating consequences for people and planet. The reason, in hindsight, is quite clear. They call for decision-making based on maximizing short-term returns to money rather than m maximizing the long-term well-being of people and planet. The more deeply I examined the issues, the clearer it became that these models primarily serve the interests of wealthy people in a position to profit from global corporations and financial markets. Positive consequences, if any, for others are purely incidental. In 1992, Fran and I moved from the Philippines to New York City to focus our attention on the deeper roots of the problems we had gone abroad to resolve — and I set about to write When Corporations Rule the World which led to my engagement in the global resistance against corporate globalization.

Then on September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the United States and the U.S. government announced its intention use the full force of the U.S. military to impose order on the world and secure U.S. interests. This pulled away the veil to reveal even more disturbing truths about the state of human kind, democracy, and the reality behind the idealized vision of U.S. democracy and global benevolence. My search for a deeper understanding of the issues and their implications led to writing The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, which drew me into a deep examination of the sweep of the human experience and our unfolding awareness of our human nature and place in Creation. I want to share with you a few of my conclusions.

FRAMING IDEAS

The book begins with these prophetic words from the preamble to the Earth Charter:

“We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future….To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth Community with a common destiny.”

For 5,000 years, the dominant human societies have organized relationships at all levels from those among states to those among family members by dominator hierarchy. Call it the era of Empire. That era has reached the limits of exploitation that people and planet will tolerate. If we continue with business as usual, future generations are likely to look back and refer to our time as The Great Unraveling — a time of environmental and social collapse. Fortunately, it is within our means to move beyond Empire to give birth to a new era of Earth Community based on a more mature understanding of our responsibility to one another and to Earth. Buddhist spiritual teacher Joanna Macy suggests that if we are successful in negotiating this transition, future generations may instead speak of this as the time of The Great Turning, the time when humanity turned from the way of domination and embraced the way of partnership.

This is the Choice Before Us, The way of Empire and the Great Unraveling or the way of Earth Community and the Great Turning.

An Earlier Turning

Our problem began with an earlier turning. Cultural historian Riane Eisler observes that for hundreds of thousands of years before the onset of Empire, humans evolved within a cultural and institutional frame of Earth Community, expressed in symbolic representation by the Stonehenge Circle of Life. They organized not to dominate life, but to celebrate it. Then some 5,000 years ago, our ancestors made a tragic turn from the partnership to domination, symbolized by the Egyptian pyramids of power.

The earliest human societies worshiped the goddess, balanced feminine and masculine energies, placed women in significant leadership roles, and were generally peaceful and egalitarian. As population density grew, however, humans faced the challenge of organizing social relationships beyond an immediate circle of one’s own kin — and the first Great Turning began.

Female gods were replace by male gods as the masculine drove out the feminine and men took over to rule by bow and sword in a brutal competition for power that created a relentless play-or-die, rule-or-be-ruled dynamic of violence and oppression. Conquest became a measure of greatness. The wisdom of the elders and the priestess gave way to the arbitrary rule of powerful kings. We humans lost our sense of attachment to Earth. Our societies became divided between the rulers and the ruled. It began some 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, the land we now call Iraq. Empire has come full circle as this is the land in which the most powerful, and hopefully the last, empire appears destined to exhaust itself. It is no coincidence that every Empire in human history has been built on a foundation of slavery and bonded labor. It is axiomatic. For a few to be on top, the many must be on the bottom — and it remains so in our time. Sweatshop and migrant agricultural workers are our modern equivalents.

Since that fateful turn away from Earth Community, imperial institutions have systematically reduced the vast majority of humans to conditions of servitude that deny their humanity and suppress their creative potential, while elevating to the highest positions of power the most power driven and ethically challenged among us. To these ends, imperial institutions have diverted a major portion of the resources available to human societies away from meeting the needs of people and nature in order to support the military forces, prisons, palaces, temples, retainers and propagandists required to maintain a system that secures the interests of an elite ruling class against the justified wrath of those consigned to conditions of literal or virtual slavery at the bottom.

Throughout history, ruling elites have limited the competition for positions at the pinnacle of institutional power by denying the humanity of whole groups of persons based on race and gender and arbitrarily consigning them permanently to the bottom. Racism, sexism, classism, environmental devastation, war, and poverty are inherent consequences of the rule or be ruled dynamics of imperial cultures and institutions. They will be with us for so long as we allow imperial cultures and institutions to define our values and relationships.

TRAPPED BY INSTITUTIONS

Over 5,000 years the primary institutional form of Empire has morphed from the imperial city-states of ancient time to the imperial nation-states of the modern era — and more recently to the imperial global corporations of our time. The pattern of domination and exclusion, however, remains largely unchanged.

The Publicly-Traded, Limited-Liability Corporation

Many people ask me, “Why are you so obsessed about corporations? They are just communities of people.” This argument, however, misses a critical point. Although there are many wonderful ethical people working in corporations, in a publicly traded corporation the people are all employees of the institution with few, if any, individual rights. They are paid to serve the institution at its pleasure, required to leave their personal values at the door, and subject to dismissal without recourse at a moment’s notice.

This is an institution of enormous power governed by absentee owners and unaccountable managers in the business of converting the life energy of people and nature into money for the short-term financial gain of already wealthy shareholders and managers without regard to human or natural consequences.

In other words, the publicly traded, limited liability corporation is a gigantic pool of money with an artificial legal personality required by law to behave like a sociopath — our modern equivalent of the unaccountable and often sociopathic kings of years gone by. It is an institution designed to advance the immediate financial-interests of a small minority in a world that requires a commitment to the long-term life-interests of all.

THE IMPERATIVE

Consuming MoreModern societies have for the past fifty years defined progress in terms of growth in the market value of economic output and consumption. Overall, we’ve been highly successful at growing our economies. Since 1950 the global market value of human consumption has increased by 7 times. This growth has made a great deal of money for a few people.

There is, however, another side to the story. The Living Planet Index is a measure of the health of the world’s freshwater, ocean, and forest ecosystems — the life support system of the planet. This index has declined by 37% in the past 30 years. The good news, at least from the perspective the planet, is the species that bears the responsibility for this devastation will be gone well before the index reaches zero.

About 85% of what remains of our planet’s life support system is expropriated by the more fortunate 20% of the world’s people. The poorest 20% struggle for survival on slightly more than 1%. The middle 60% get by on the remaining 14%. Indeed, one of the many lessons I learned during my ears abroad was that much of what we call development is a process of appropriating the land and water resources on which the bottom 80 percent of people depend for their livelihoods to make way for dams, mines, shrimp farms, agricultural estates, golf courses, and shopping centers benefiting the favored 20 percent.

Environmental devastation and the gap between rich and poor are growing at an accelerating rate as the owning class monopolizes ever more of the productive capacity of the planet and the working classes are squeezed to provide their labor at an ever lower price. On a crowded planet, sustainability and equity are inseparably linked.

A radical and potentially devastating economic restructuring is now guaranteed by the mounting forces of a perfect economic storm born of a convergence of: Peak oil, Climate Change, and a U.S. dollar meltdown.

Peak Oil

Peak oil occurs when global oil production peaks and begins its inexorable decline as continued rising demand sends prices soaring. Oil output may have peaked last year in 2005. It may not peak for another ten, twenty, or even thirty years. The difference is irrelevant. The era of cheap oil is over and we must act immediately to eliminate our oil dependence. Here are some of the implications for how our way of life will change.

Long haul transport and global supply chains. Relics of a dying era.

Auto dependent suburbia, strip malls, shopping centers, and box stores like WalMart located in the middle of nowhere. Out of business.

Oil dependent industrial agriculture. Out of gas.

The oil guzzling military planes, ships, and ground vehicles we depend to secure our access to cheap oil. History.

As oil prices inexorably rise, much of our existing capital stock will be reduced to stranded assets, relics of a dying era, including much of the supporting capital of our sprawling and unsustainable suburbs. Options for converting exiting automobiles to other power sources may be limited.

Climate Change

The consequences of peak oil will be exacerbated by climate change. During the 20th century, the average mean surface temperature of the planet increased by 0.6 degrees Celsius. Projections of the increase anticipated by the end of the current century range from 2 degrees to 4½ degrees Celsius. We are already experiencing an ominous trend in weather related natural disasters. From the decade of the 1950s to the first five years of the 21st century — within the life times of most of us in this room — the annual average of weather related natural disasters increased from 24 per year to 350 per year. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are but a foretaste of what lies ahead. According to a study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Defense we can expect:
  • Shorter growing seasons and a10-25% global loss of crop yield.
  • Water shortages.
  • Increase in forest fires, famine, disease, and severe weather events.
  • Endemic resource wars and uncontrolled migration.

Climate change is serious business.

Dollar Meltdown

The third element of the perfect economic storm, a meltdown of the U.S. dollar, is the consequence of a growing U.S. trade deficit that hit ¾ of a trillion dollars in 2005 as imports continue to exceed exports by and ever growing margin and empty shipping containers accumulate in our busy ports. Growth in the trade gap is a measure of the extent to which we in the United States are living ever further beyond our own means, running up a credit card debt to the rest of the world, and leaving the bill to our children. It is also a measure of the rate at which we are hemorrhaging both the family wage jobs that created the U.S. middle class and the manufacturing, technology, and research capabilities that go with those jobs. On the day the rest of the world tires of selling on credit to an economic deadbeat, the financial house of cards that supports our profligate ways will collapse.

If we choose to allow the Great Unraveling to play out as a last man standing competition for the remaining resources of the planet we can anticipate escalating military conflict and terrorism leading to feudal fragmentation as after the fall of the Roman Empire, and possible nuclear Armageddon. Fortunately there is an alternative.

The combination of peak oil, severe weather events, and a U.S. dollar meltdown will force a dramatic restructuring of the way we live as the economic incentives shift from global to local supply chains and from suburban sprawl to compact communities that bring home, work, and recreation in easy reach by foot, bicycle, and public transit. The communities that fare best will be those that act now to rebuild local supply chains, reverse the trend toward conversion of farm and forest lands, support local, low input, family farms, and seek to become substantially self-reliant in food and energy. The imperative thus becomes an opportunity to build functioning communities, restore a sense of place, democratize economic power, and radically revise our priorities for use of labor, land, and other natural resources — giving priority to life values over financial values.

THE POSSIBILITY

Fortunately, we humans have achieved the means to assume collective responsibility for our future at the precise moment we have encountered the imperative to do so — which I take as evidence that Creation is intelligent, compassionate, and wants the human species to succeed. Consider:

  • It was only a little more than sixty years ago we created the United Nations, which for all its imperfections, made it possible for the first time in the human experience for representatives of all the world’s nations to meet in a neutral space to resolve differences through dialogue rather than force of arms.
  • Less than fifty years ago we ventured into space to look back and see ourselves as one people sharing a common destiny on a living space ship.
  • It is only within the last ten to fifteen years that our communications technologies gave us for the first time the ability, should we choose to use it, to link every human on the planet into a seamless web of nearly costless communication and cooperation.

Four million years passed from the time human like species first inhabited Earth and the time we created the capacity to annihilate ourselves. We acquired the organizational and technological capabilities to turn the human course as a conscious collective choice within the span of a the lifetimes of many of us in this room. Our future will be determined by how we choose as a species to use the capabilities now in our hands.

Unfortunately, our ability to make the obvious choice for life is seriously hampered by ill advised economic policies crafted by right wing extremists who have taken over our political system to advance an elitist agenda that gives priority to corporate profits over the well-being of our children, families, communities, democracy, and nature. Their favored policies:

  • Drive down wages and benefits for working people, which forces parents to take on multiple jobs paying less than a family wage that leave no time for child care or community participation.
  • Roll back regulations that protect the health and safety of children, families, communities, and the environment to allow the discharge of toxins into our air and water.
  • Give tax breaks to the wealthy paid by public borrowing and leave the bill to our children.
  • Place quality education, health care, housing, and retirement beyond the reach of most Americans.
  • Give free reign to corporate lobbyists to buy political favors in defiance of the will and well-being of average Americans.
  • Grant corporations multi-billion dollar tax breaks for marketing to children to promote violent games and entice them into lifetime addictions to junk food, alcohol, and cigarettes.

Members of this elitist fringe claim to be conservatives committed to the defense of family values. It is time to expose the fact that this extremist fringe is engaged in an all out war against children, family, community, democracy, and nature.

THE POWER OF STORIES

How do self-serving champions of corporate greed achieve our willing participation in destroying so many of things we most value? The answer lies in the power of the stories by which we know ourselves and our world. By manipulating the stories that define our values, the institutions of empire create a kind of cultural trance that blinds us to our higher possibilities.

For example, consider our national story. One of the things I found most unsettling as I did my research for The Great Turning, was the realization that the belief to which I had held throughout my life that the United States was founded as a democracy with institutions that embody the highest expression of the democratic ideal is yet another of Empire’s many lies.

Ending hereditary monarchy and introducing the separation of church and state to end theocracy were important advances. Beyond that, however, much of the story is a self-limiting myth that serves elite interests by denying the need for continuing struggle in pursuit of the democratic ideal. Consider the well known facts.

Our Constitution was written by white male land owners. It enshrined their power. The land we occupy was taken by force and deceit from Native Americas. Much of that land was worked by slaves. Women didn’t get the vote until 1920. Even with the progress achieved through two centuries of popular struggle, daily events demonstrate to anyone who is paying attention that our nation still falls far short of realizing the democratic ideal. In the words of Frances Moore Lappe, “To save the democracy we thought we had, we must take it to where it’s never been.”

The misdirection does not end with the mythic version of our national story. Our national disability is compounded by our cultural conditioning to believe that it is our human nature to be individualistic and often violent competitors for power, money and material possessions. By this reckoning, the idea that we might choose to live by the principles of Earth Community is contrary to our nature. This is one of Empire’s most basic and destructive lies.

Psychologists who study the developmental pathway of the human consciousness report that those of us who enjoy the requisite emotional support from family and community traverse throughout our lifetimes a pathway from the undifferentiated, now-centered, self-referential consciousness of the newborn to the highly differentiated, timeless, and inclusive spiritual consciousness of the wise elder. In short, we are a species of many possibilities. It is our nature to cultivate the potentials of the spiritual consciousness that the cultures and institutions of Empire deny.

The misdirection plays out as well in the cultural stories by which we define the pathway to prosperity, security, and meaning. Consider how each of the following familiar stories reaffirm Empire’s relationships of domination.

  • The imperial prosperity story says that an eternally growing economy benefits everyone. Economic growth requires wealthy people who are able to invest in enterprises that create jobs. Thus, for the good of society, we must free wealthy people from the taxes and regulations that limit their ability to accumulate substantial fortunes. We must also eliminate welfare programs that strip away the incentive for poor people to be productive members of society willing to work hard at whatever wages the market offers.
  • The imperial security story tells of a dangerous world, filled with criminals, terrorists, and foreign enemies who must be controlled or removed by strong police and military forces.
  • The imperial meaning story tells of a God who commands us to go forth to establish dominion over the earth, rewards the righteous with wealth and power and mandates that they rule over the poor who justly suffer divine punishment for their sins. Meaning is found in obedience to God and his appointed representatives.

These imperial stories affirm the legitimacy of economic inequality, the use of physical force to impose the will of rulers, and the special righteousness of the rich and powerful.

To Change the Future

Although it may seem absurdly simple, the key to changing the course of the human future is to change the stories by which we live. It begins with finding the courage to break the silence and speak openly the truth we know in our hearts so we may find one another and end our isolation by forming communities of congruence that link and grow so together we can speak with a clear an audible collective voice to change the prevailing cultural stories, facilitate the liberation of the higher orders of human consciousness, and change the course of the human future.

So what is the unifying narrative of the new stories of Earth Community? Consider these contemporary scientific findings from physics, biology, and psychology. Whereas Newtonian physics was based on a premise that only physical matter is real, the new quantum physics suggests that matter is an illusion. Only relationships are real. The new biology teaches that by the nature of how life manages energy, life can exist only in cooperative relationship to other life. Psychologists tell us that a mature human consciousness is the product of caring relationships. You will note a common element in these findings.

Contemporary scientific findings affirm a profound, yet elegantly simple insight that appropriately frames the new stories it is ours to tell. Relationships are the foundation of everything.

Community

The Great Work before us is about growing community to actualize the possibilities of our positive nature.

Because economic growth is driving the Great Unraveling, consider this radical idea. Forget about economic growth. Concentrate on growing healthy children, families, communities, and natural systems. Prosperity, security, and meaning will follow.

TRANSFORMATION THROUGH EMERGENCE

The story of the metamorphosis of the caterpillar to the butterfly as told by Evolution Biologist Elisabet Sahtouris provides a helpful metaphor for the human metamorphosis from Empire to Earth Community. The caterpillar is a voracious consumer that devotes its life to gorging on nature’s bounty. When it has had its fill, it fastens itself to a convenient twig and wraps itself in a chrysalis to take a rest. Once it is snug, crisis strikes as the structures of its cellular tissue begin to dissolve into an organic soup. This represents disaster from the perspective of the caterpillar’s lower worm nature and opportunity for its higher butterfly nature.

Guided by some deep inner wisdom, a number of organizer cells begin to rush around gathering other cells into imaginal buds, multicellular structures that form crucial organs of a new creature. Here, if you look closely, you can begin to see the outlines of a Monarch butterfly through the increasingly transparent chrysalis. Correctly perceiving a threat to the old order, but misperceiving its source, the caterpillar’s still intact immune system attributes the threat to the imaginal buds and attacks them as alien intruders.

The cells that engage the work of creating the butterfly ultimately prevail by linking up with one another in a cooperative emergent process that gives birth to a new creature of extraordinary beauty that lives lightly on the earth, serves the regeneration of life by pollinating flowers, and has the capacity to traverse vast expanses of the North American continent to experience life’s possibilities in ways the earthbound caterpillar could scarcely have imagined.

We humans similarly stand on the threshold of a rebirth no less dramatic as our familiar institutional structures disintegrate around us. The transformation of the caterpillar is physical, ours is cultural and spiritual. Whereas the caterpillar faces an outcome preordained by the experience of countless generations before and embedded in the genetic structure of its cells, we are path-breaking pioneers in uncharted territory.

Our work is to assume the role of organizer cells engaged in forming cultural and institutional imaginal buds grounded in the principles of partnership in each of the three major spheres of human activity: the cultural, economic, and political.

  • Cultural Turning. The work of the cultural turning centers on liberating ourselves from our cultural conditioning to the values of Empire and awakening the potentials of the higher orders of human cultural and spiritual consciousness. This awakening brings a turning from money and material excess to life and spiritual fulfillment; from belief in our limitations to belief in our possibilities; from fearing our differences to rejoicing in our diversity, and from the artificial scarcity created by the competition for dominator power to the abundance that flows from cooperation to grow the partnership power of strong communities.
  • Economic Turning. The transformation of cultural values establishes the foundation for an economic turning from evaluating progress by financial indicators to evaluating progress by the health of all our children, families, and communities; raising the top to raising the bottom; from hoarding to sharing, from absentee ownership by the few to local stakeholder ownership by the many; and from the rights of ownership to the responsibilities of stewardship.
  • Political Turning. A transformation of economic relationships creates the necessary conditions for a political turning from a one-dollar one-vote democracy to a one-person one-vote democracy, from passive citizenship to active citizenship, from competition for individual advantage to cooperation for mutual advantage, from retributive justice to restorative justice, and from social order by physical coercion to social order by mutual responsibility and accountability.

The most visible manifestation of the Great Turning to Earth Community is a newly emergent social organism that transcends the barriers of race, class, religion, and nationality to act as a shared conscience of the species. It initially self-organized to oppose the violence of corporate globalization. Without precedent in the human experience, we have come to know this radically democratic social organism by the name global civil society. The World Social Forum is its annual meeting place. On February 15, 2003 global civil society mobilized more than 10 million people around the globe on the same day to oppose the violence of the planned U.S. invasion of Iraq. This extraordinary expression of a shared vision of a world of peace and justice for all was self-organized with no central organization, operating budget, or charismatic leader by millions of people using the Internet as their connecting web. At YES! magazine we call it a Conspiracy of Hope.

So what of our politically divided nation? I believe there is a far greater readiness in these United States to join in the Great Turning from Empire to Earth Community than we might first assume. For all the talk of red states and blue states, U.S. polling data reveal a startling degree of consensus on key issues. We are in fact mostly purple. Would you believe there is any major question on which 90 percent of Americans agree? There is. A recent poll reported ninety percent of us agree that big companies have too much power. Eighty-three percent of us believe that as a society the United States is focused on the wrong priorities. Supermajorities of more than 80 percent want to give higher priority to children, family, community, and a healthy environment. Americans want a world that puts people ahead of profits, spiritual values ahead of financial values, and international cooperation ahead of international domination. These are not distinctively conservative or liberal values. They are widely shared human values. We are one nation yearning for healthy children, families, communities, and natural environments.

So let me see the hands. How many of you are part of the national consensus so defined?

We are not representatives of an alternative fringe minority. We are the leading edge of a national supermajority and it is appropriate for us to speak and act accordingly with clarity and confidence..

This is a defining moment. We face an unprecedented choice: give up the reckless ways of our species adolescence and accept responsibility for one another and the planet; or continue on a path to collective suicide. In its profound wisdom the spiritual force of Creation is calling us to take the step to a new level of species maturity. The new biology makes the case that the species that succeed and thrive are not the most brutal and competitive. Rather they are the species that find their place of service to the whole. This is the challenge before us — to find our place of service in the large scheme of Creation. Think of it as a final examination to determine whether we are a species worthy of survival. A passing grade requires a sweeping cultural and institutional transformation.

Let us be clear. The work of the Great Turning is not to fix Empire with adjustments at the margin. Rather it is to birth a new era grounded in a choice for life that restores to people, families, and communities the power that the institutions of Empire have usurped.

We cannot wait for the leadership in this Great Work to come from within the institutions of Empire, the equivalent of the caterpillar’s immune system. They represent an old and dying order. The leadership must come from people like us, organizer cells of a new era working through our local governments, businesses, churches, educational institutions, and nonprofits to build vital, democratic communities to serve as the imaginal buds of a new era of Earth Community. This is why the work you are doing is so important. Wherever we live, we must each engage the challenge of making our particular community of place an inspiring model of what can be for the nation and the world. Together we will learn, share, create, as we change the national conversation, and ultimately turn the human course.

In summary:

Break the silence. End the Isolation. Change the story. Support an Earth Community Dialogue to facilitate the birthing of Earth Community in the place where you live.

Use The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community as a resource for personal study and for engaging your friends and colleagues in discussing the great work of our time. Check out http://www.thegreatturning.net/ for group discussion guides and links to other resources for engaging your community in an Earth Community Dialogue.

If You are not already a YES! subscriber, I urge you to correct this deficiency in your life. We created YES! to serve as a resource for those who are engaging the work of the Great Turning by providing inspiring stories, ideas, and resources for action. Start a YES! discussion circle. So how do you feel about “5,000 years of Empire.”. Are YOU ”Ready for a change?” Find it all at http://www.yesmagazine.org/.

Our distinctive human capacity for reflection and intentional choice carries a corresponding moral responsibility to care for one another and the planet. We must now test the limits of the individual and collective creative potential of our species as we strive to become the change we seek.

In these turbulent and frightening times it is important to remind ourselves that we are privileged to live at the most exciting moment of creative opportunity in the whole of the human experience.

The future is in our hands. We can end racism, sexism, war, poverty, environmental destruction while unleashing the creative potential of the species, growing community, and finding our place of service to Creation’s continued unfolding. It all depends on the Great Turning from Empire to Earth Community. Now is the hour. We have the power. We are the ones we have been waiting for.

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