Our generation’s calling is clear: to create a thriving, just, sustainable world that works for all, we must take bold and systemic action to transform our whole society.
~Generation Waking Up
I've come across three different initiatives in the past few days that are strikingly similar in their intention, spirit, and leadership. All three are examples of young people trying to unite disconnected people, issues, and approaches, into a more coherent movement. The goal: remake the world system.
The first is Generation Waking Up. It's a "global campaign to ignite a generation of young people to bring forth a thriving, just, sustainable world". Founded and powered by Gen-Y, a.k.a The Millennials (that segment of society born roughly between 1978 and 2000), Generation Waking Up is seeking to form a cross-cultural and cross-generational "Movement of movements".
Then there's this initiative by 27-year old Howard Buffet, grandson of billionaire, Warren Buffet. Howard's working on a idea that's been a long time coming and, frankly, it's surprising that it took so long to emerge.
"The approach, he hopes, will become the standard for his family's growing network of mega-philanthropists: rather than dolling out cash to independent, uncoordinated actors with the most heart-string-tugging story, they could take on an entire social problems (like food security or breast cancer) by systematically lining up nonprofits to tackle each part of the causal chain, from federal policy to victim resources."
As a student and practitioner of international development I've come across this problem frequently. One of the difficulties with the vast and uncoordinated NGO movement is that it's dispersed and individual NGOs often work on their own projects without collaborating with others. A lone NGO is frequently too small to make an impact beyond the small community it works in and it has to compete with other NGOs for the same limited funding. The Gates Foundation has gone a long way to begin changing the situation, and given the close connection between Gates and Buffet, it's not surprising that Buffet's grandson would seize the day here. Like Generation Waking Up, Howard is young, and he's helping link a network of savvy change-makers so they can tackle some of the planet's toughest challenges.
“The Creativity Camera, or C-CAM for short, is a San Francisco based studio and global network of leading and emerging visionary artists, innovators, designers, electronic music producers, film makers, teachers and personal growth experts dedicated to aligning human creativity with inspirational projects that integrate the arts, technology and social media for good.
Transcending stereotypes sometimes associated with traditional religion and the spiritual new age, C-CAM is committed to uploading the world’s collective wisdom into digital mediums that more readily speak to people living in today’s media driven world.”
Members of C-CAM are also affiliated with an new initiative called Second Wave Integral. This nascent movement of young people who've "grown-up Integral" (as in, grown-up associated with the teachings of philosopher Ken Wilber and the extended community of teachers, philosophers and students surrounding his work) is beginning to break free from the trajectory set by Boomers to carve out its own path. One of the Wave's spokespersons, Dustin Diperna, breaks it down with a nice description of the spirit and vision behind the movement:**
"An image that often comes to mind is if you imagine a net around the world, with these little nodes connected at each one of those places where the net crosses over. There's a sense that we're all flipping on the light switch at once. And that net of light - or that web of light - is actually igniting. We're sending this global transformational web out so that we all can unite through the web, we can unite through the internet, unite through all our various social technologies and for the very first time we can actually initiate a global movement. So anyone listening contact us, get involved, there's so much room for all of our Unique Selves to play a key piece in this larger movement."
What I see as so interesting about these initiatives is what they share in common.
1) they're all led by young people.
2) they all seek to unite fragmented movements - NGOs, artists, financiers, etc. - and bring their collective power to bear on society at large.
3) they're all building on the work of our senior colleagues and mentors, but are also seeking to differentiate and develop new solutions to meet the challenges of our generation.
These initiative are expressing a desire to connect, link, and network solutions at a higher order. So I'm struck that something is clearly arising in the collective consciousness of our generation and culture at large. Whether you prefer to call it hundredth monkey, or the noesphere, or scenius, or the emergence of integral consciousness, or collective intelligence, whatever - something is coming online.
This something is seeking to address global issues and it's doing it at an order of complexity and connectivity that hasn't been seen before. It makes sense too. Everybody can see that the global issues of today require cross-cultural and international efforts, managed at many different scales. So it's unsurprising that initiatives like the ones mentioned above would emerge at this time. We're being forced to rise to meet the complex challenges we face, and it appears this generation may have the tools for the job.
As a generation we've grown up networking, linking, and remixing everything from our online friendships (social media), to our music (hip-hop, electronica), to our sports (MMA, parkour). Maybe it's only natural that a generation in the habit of linking and mixing so many different styles and ways of being would start to examine global issues in the same way. These bright individuals have woken up to the fact that the scale of our global challenges exist at a higher order than the solutions provided by any one idea, institution, or nation. Their networking and linking is already an expression of a higher order of thinking and may in turn be laying seeds for the emergence of next level solutions.
As a fellow Millennial, I'm inspired by these initiatives and will be following their progress in the coming months and years. I'll keep ya posted.
**(click here for full audio and background story of Second Wave Integral)