"If you're in a bad situation, don't worry, it'll change. If you're in a good situation, don't worry, it'll change."
-- John A. Simone Jr.
For hundreds of years we have been living, working, consuming and discarding without much concern for the consequences of our actions. The dominant paradigm has been one of individual, corporate and national profit making and taking. The costs of these pursuits has been consistently and conveniently “externalized”, meaning, simply, that we’ve been ignoring the systemic reverberations of our actions. If you haven’t done so already, watch The Story of Stuff, now.
Generally speaking this is resulting in largely unintended and increasing patterns of environmental degradation, 5 nation-sized gyres of plastic soup in our oceans, a growing number of extinctions or near extinctions, climate destabilization, crippling trade imbalances, the ongoing accumulation and concentration of wealth and health in small minorities, and the proliferation of re-enforcing systems and structures that, as populations increase, are accelerating these patterns. As populations grow and resources dwindle the consumptive force of this negative spiral is poised to increase exponentially. Accompanying this tsunami-like increase we’re already seeing rather undignified grabs for resources (think oil–and, more recently, tuna).We call this the scarcity dynamic. We all know how this works. We perceive (correctly or incorrectly) that there is not enough to go around, so we hoard, consume more quickly, things fall apart and we realize the tragedy of the commons.
Recently, though, new patterns have been emerging that demonstrate the transformative power of widening our scope of action, intention and awareness. When we do this consistently and systemically we begin taking ownership and accountability for the impacts and influences we exert beyond the immediate scope of our work, commerce and consumption. We begin to realize that, instead of contributing to the negative spiral outlined above, we can create ripples of positive value in the world around us. We call this the abundance dynamic. And, it begins with a shift from “me” to “we.”