As I look back over 2013 and consider the outlook for 2014, I see one sign of hope above all: an awakening of consciousness and conscience among the people of the world. Let’s hope so, because that’s what we need. The forces of darkness are gathering, and I don’t mean this as an abstraction. The global network of institutional powers, dominated by corporations, driven by money, and enforced by military power, continues to propel us toward a dystopian future of ever-increasing poverty, growing inequity, escalating violence, permanent war, and climate chaos. The only good news in this scenario is that real live human beings are awakening to the insanity of this system and are organizing and agitating for transformation.
Last year brought many examples of transformation, including:
Widespread media coverage, appreciation, and discussion of Pope Francis’ words and actions demonstrating simplicity, mercy, and justice while critiquing global capitalism and small-minded Christianity. Charges of “Marxism” and other attacks by right-wing commentators highlight their ideological distortions of Christianity rather than diminish Francis in the eyes of the world.
Increased public opposition and nonviolent direct actions related to drone warfare. I was privileged to be a part of the resistance and was delighted that the judge that found us guilty of trespassing onto Beale Air Force Base sentenced us to just ten hours of community service.
Growing awareness and organized opposition against the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a so-called free trade agreement that is being negotiated in secret. The TPP would jeopardize democratically enacted laws and consolidate corporate power over governments. I have been giving presentations on the TPP and the overall system of corporate globalization as explained in my book, Shaking the Gates of Hell: Faith-Led Resistance to Corporate Globalization.
Growing awareness that climate change is posing an extreme threat to the human and earth community, and that we must quickly transition beyond our current fossil-fuel based, industrialized global society or face ecological, economic, and social collapse. Locally, we have formed the Nevada County Climate Change Coalition, which is working toward this end.
These are just a few of the areas where awakening is leading to action and action is leading to hope. Meanwhile, I am grateful for so much as this new year begins: for my lovely family, remarkable community, and this beautiful region in the Yuba River watershed. As I consider the great challenges we face, I am especially grateful for friends who are awakening, making costly decisions, and working with others for a transformed world. You embody hope. You live hope into being.
Happy New Year.