The Mahatma looks a little cheeky in this pic, eh? Like he knows something you don’t. I’m pretty sure he did. Gandhi’s famous teaching: YOU MUST BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD is pretty up there in the wisdom department and has become the basis for a new political strategy–even a new global movement. It has been expressed both explicitly and tacitly implied by many groups who seek social change. The Better World Handbook, We are What We Do, and Worldchanging are just a few who have adopted this quotation in their websites and publications. But how can we really be the change we wish to see in the world? And how can that really change the world?
In addition to all the uprisings of 2011, we are experiencing a cultural shift on a massive scale. Many people are starting to see that their lives matter when it comes to social change. The personal and local have become more important sites of political action. Individual everyday actions, lifestyle changes, and self-development have become forms of social activism and include things like being more environmentally sensitive; personal care of the body, mind and spirit; getting to know your neighbours; ethical and healthy consumerism; recycling; vegetarianism; relocalizing economies; sustainable food; eco-travel; spending more time with loved ones; or even watching less TV! The detrimental practices of dominant culture are increasingly challenged not by taking power like movements and ideologies of the past (Marxism or Liberalism), but by seeking healthy alternatives to mainstream practices and ideas. Strategies to become healthier also take on what it means to be human, to be in community, to be a better person. It’s exciting!