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Responding to very significant world change – a grassroots response needed

The only thing certain about change is that it is always occurring. Right now, momentous changes are taking place in the world.

The nature of these changes are:

• Economic: including the rise of new major powers (especially China and India) and a corresponding shift of influence from the West to the East, and relative shifts also to certain kinds of non-government networks, including business and crime
• Ecological: climate change and politics of energy (notably dependence on fossil fuels), and more manifest scarcity of resources, including water and food
• Socio-cultural: demographic (rising world population, including the aged especially in Europe and Japan) and large scale migration.

It is generally agreed there is a need to be flexible when dealing with change, and to be aware of our mutual interdependence.

The problem with the dominant Judeo-Christian cultures (in the West and Middle East) and Confucianism (in China) is that they support the expectation that a leader or leaders – especially male – will save the world.

Currently, the world waits. It is encouraged to watch its leaders on television screens and computer monitors issuing assuring communiqués. And wait for their next move(s).

However, there is a danger that such top-down ways of dealing with change will at best serve only to put out some fires and protect some interests.

Ground-up approaches are preferable, approaches that enable the interrelatedness of everything, especially in their local manifestations where people live and work, to be better discerned, understood and managed.

To do so, localities or “villages” everywhere need to better connect both within themselves and with one another.

What do you think? Do you think leaders such as Barak Obama or Gordon Brown can really save the world? Can our respective leaders ensure all (including small, and poor countries) are serious participants in conversations about what affects all nations? Do we, in our villages, also have contributions to make? How might we do so? Or will we just wait, hope and pray?

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