Due to rapid advances in technology, the world has gotten much smaller. 12% of the world population now has a Facebook account. Internet-based social networks have helped to mobilize uprisings from the Middle East to Wall Street. Skype has enabled free international video-calls to anywhere on the planet. Citizen journalism has brought the power to broadcast news to anyone with a camera and an internet connection. Even Masai Warriors in Kenya are now texting regularly on their mobiles.
While our connections to the world have exploded, our sense of connectivity to one another has not yet been fully realized. Genocide, famine, and human rights abuses continue to plague our global landscape. Inequities in access to resources have stubbornly persisted. International conflict continues at typical, if not exceedingly high rates.
Yet, when most people from any country are asked what is important to them, the international agenda is not high on their priority list. Rather, they tend to focus on the things that they feel control over and people they feel connected to. For example, making sure their family is safe, healthy and happy; ensuring the best possible opportunities for their children; having strong connections to friends and community; and navigating the swirvy curve balls that life throws on any given day.
It is not that we are unfeeling, or insensitive as human beings to the plight of those across the world. Rather, most of us feel helpless to do anything about these big picture issues. We don’t believe we have power to change the circumstances. And because most of us have no direct interaction with those most affected, we often feel disconnected from their pain. Combined, this lack of control to be able to affect change and limited connectivity to those feeling distress has stifled the capacity of our world to access its deepest layers of humanity.
The recent major shifts around the world- from the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street to the economic crises being faced around the world – may have created a new entry point to address these challenges. Millions of people are now urgently, passionately seeking a better world, but don’t necessarily know what that world looks like or how to get there. If the global economic crises is not solved soon, and uprisings continue to spread, an opportunity for fundamental change could be realized – but it begs the question: do we want to be in control of that change, or have it happen to us? We have the ability to create our world ONLY if we have an understanding for what that world could look like. This project seeks to help us take the first steps in collectively crafting a vision for a better world based entirely on conversations by people all around the globe. While it will likely not lead to a perfect singular vision for change, we believe the process itself is a fundamental part of the recipe needed to traverse the transformation from where we are now to where we want to be as a planet. It’s these conversations that will spark a global fire of dialogue and art that will enable us to figure out our next steps to propel us to thrive.