The future can seem rather bleak at times, what with climate change, mass extinctions, constant wars, and increasingly obvious inequalities between humans.
But if we’re to believe singer/songwriter Pete Seiger (and who can resist Pete?), we’ll trust that if we couldn’t have anticipated the fall of the Berlin Wall, we shouldn’t assume there’s no hope.
Instead, we should look to our collective power as human beings to catalyze widespread positive change in the way we operate in this world.
Imagine, for example, if the entire world stopped in its tracks to apply its full brainpower to some of our most pressing issues- ending hunger, establishing sustainable energy sources, addressing the effects of climate change, reducing water waste. Imagine what we could accomplish if everyone on the planet stopped business as usual for even two weeks and put our heads together to design and commit to sustainable solutions to these challenges.
In a great Ted Talk a few months ago, policy advisor Simon Anholt suggested a novel idea– that people should quit striving to have their country be the most competitive, prosperous, technologically advanced, or rich.
Rather, in light of the globalization of our problems, Anholt encourages us to demand of our governments and of ourselves that our countries be and do the most good.
“This is about a government and a people that care about the rest of the world and have the imagination and the courage to think outwards instead of only thinking selfishly.” -Simon Anholt
This means recognizing every person and the importance of their well-being, regardless of borders. It means engaging the unique perspectives of every individual in the daily operations of society, calling on each person’s unique lived experiences to help overcome the systemic challenges of our societies and of our time.
Anholt compares all countries to see how they fare on the Good Index. Who won? No spoilers here, but the answer might surprise you. (Hint: it’s not the US. We’ve got a ways to go up the Good Index.)
Do you accept Anholt’s challenge? Our willingness to be bold and strive to do the most good really can rock this planet and change the world, for good.