Part Three of the Green Festival Series
By Kevin Danaher - Co-Founder, Global Exchange
If you rely on the corporate media for your news, you may not be aware that this is the most significant revolutionary period in human history. Previous revolutions were national in scope: the revolutionaries sought control of a capital city in order to change the politics and economics of that nation. Now we are in the early stages of the first-ever global revolution. It is not about seizing power in capital cities; it is a values revolution that is demanding a transition from the current system where money values rule over the life cycle, to a new system where life values will rule over the money cycle.
The current situation in the world is unique: the gap between "What Is" and "What Could Be" has never been so vast. We have the technology to purify water inexpensively, yet millions of poor children die every year from bad water. We have sufficient renewable energy technology and efficiency methods to avoid cooking the planet, yet our governments and large corporations fail to make the necessary investments and policy changes. Our leaders in Washington continue to shower our tax money on the military-industrial complex, despite the spectacular failures of U.S. military adventures in recent decades.
This global values revolution can be seen in the proliferation of hundreds of thousands of social justice and environmental organizations all over the planet. The Fair Trade movement is shifting billions of dollars into the hands of producers and growing a generation of socially conscious consumers; the cooperative movement is inventing new systems for workers to control the means of production; the sustainable agriculture movement is proving that food can be healthy and viable at the same time; the women’s movement is creating more gender equity and is vocal about the root causes of oppression and sexism; wind energy and other forms of clean energy generation are expanding rapidly; farmer and peasant movements such as Via Campesina are uniting family farmers in many countries; the Occupy movement has drawn public attention to the growing inequality that is undermining democracy.
We cannot go on expecting solutions to come from the political and economic elites who ride in limousines with security guards. They are not exposed to the impacts of their policies, so the feedback loop has been broken by the concentration of wealth and power in a few hands. This is why so many people are out in the streets demanding a transition from the dominant system (guns and money) to a new system that will give social justice and environmental restoration a higher priority than corporate profit-making.
We do not hear much about this global values revolution because the corporate media tend to ignore efforts that challenge the elitist structure of corporate capitalism. But the internet has given us an information system that is fundamentally different from traditional media and has created the huge potential for creativity and sharing. Yes, that creativity may include silly cat videos but it is still creativity and sharing. This connects people in ways that were impossible up until a few years ago, and the results can be seen in many ways.
The uprisings in the Middle East that are overthrowing decades-old dictatorships cannot be understood without analyzing the role of social media. Global Exchange Co-Founder Medea Benjamin was on the ground in Egypt during the uprising that overthrew the Mubarak regime. She was awed by the level of sophistication displayed by the non-violent protest movement. While the violence of Al Qaeda and their ilk has not succeeded anywhere, nonviolent mass civil disobedience is spreading like wildfire.
The simple fact that does not come through the corporate media’s focus on violence and disaster is that the majority of people in the world believe in social justice and environmental restoration. If we had global voting (now technically possible) and everyone on earth was asked “Should we shut down all the militaries and put the money into health care and education?” the majority would vote with you and I. On the big questions such as ending war, restoring the environment, promoting social equity there is a clear majority of people around the world who want to end violence and feed all the children.
We need to shift our political culture away from protesting what we are against, to instead building the world we want to see, from the grassroots community level upward. The beginnings of this exist in the Occupy movement, in the Green Festivals, and in thousands of grassroots efforts around the world.
The corporate media say we don’t know what we want. But we do: we want an end to corporate greed, bank bailouts and the gross income disparity destroying this planet. And we want peace, justice, democracy and equal rights for all: principles that this country was founded on.
We have the ability to avoid ecocide and create ecotopia - if we get organized.
Photo Credit: Global Exchange
The 10th Anniversary San Francisco Green Festival is the place to occupy solutions November 12-13 at the SF Concourse Exhibition Center, with speakers, workshops and panels focusing on local community action, social justice, economic sustainability, job resources, Fair Trade, food systems, social media, networking and much more.
Green Festival, the nation’s premier sustainability event, features renowned authors, leaders, educators, eco-friendly businesses, workshops, social justice films and kids’ activities to celebrate sustainable topics and ideas at the San Francisco Concourse Exhibition Center November 12-13 and in New York City at Javits Center North April 21-22, 2012. A project of Global Exchange and Green America, Green Festival hosts over 300 local, regional and national green businesses who model their products, services and practices on an ethical responsibility of sustainability, minimal environmental impact, and Fair Trade. Green Festival also provides hundreds of speakers with a platform for education, debate and conversation, featuring many presentations on living a healthier, more impactful and sustainable life and making a difference in one’s community.