What a great time to enrol people in the business of doing something about social and environmental issues.
Gordon Gecko was wrong, greed is not good. As some of the financial fat cats get their comeuppance surely we’ll see an acceleration towards a world where more people use their working lives to do something worthwhile.
But what might stop this happening?
Firstly, I suppose, especially in an economic downturn, people might claim poverty. But as fellow JustMeans blogger Osbert Lancaster wrote in “Responsible business in a time of turmoil?” – one good strategy is to remember we in the West are rich. Wildly rich compared to many of the people in the developing world.
Selfishness isn’t a bad strategy in my view. If you don’t look after yourself, what chance do you have of looking after others? The trick is probably to try to sort oneself out, in every way, then start to see what you can do for others.
Secondly, many people seem to argue there’s no point. The world’s going to hell in a handcart anyway, so why bother. Well is it? It seems to me that our biggest hope is the very presence of sites like JustMeans, and all the thousands (millions?) of people signing up to similar initiatives. If together we create a critical mass, then surely there’s some hope?
Thirdly, some people seem to feel they aren’t able to do anything. Maybe we haven’t got the skills. Or maybe we don’t have any choice.
That’s something that took me some years to fully understand. That really everything we do is our own choice. We may tell ourselves that we have no choice but it’s simply not true. No one cooerces us. Or very rarely anyway.
Anything else? People like me, preaching? Personally, I hate being told what to do. And I do worry that many of our social and environmental organisations are too exclusive, run by “professionals” and “experts”. People who “know” the answers. (Hopefully that’ll trigger a response!)
I like the message that came across from Paul Hawken’s Blessed Unrest video – that this movement is wide and deep, broad and inclusive. Everyone, literally everyone, has something to contribute.
So dive in.