Something is happening.
It's undeniable, impossible to describe and whatever it is, it's manifesting into an intense and palpable energy, crossing all boundaries and all sectors and affecting everyone on every level.
It's the uncertainty. It's the cliffs. It's the freaking apocalypse. It's the shootings -- my GOD, the shootings. It's the desire for something different, the fundamental recognition that things need to change, and it's the nervous excitement suddenly present because we know they just might. The world is "at a critical juncture in human history," according to the recently released National Intelligence Council's Global Trends Report, and tomorrow -- Friday, December 21st, 2012 -- just so happens to be the day the Mayans predicted would be the end of the world as we know it; a global shift in consciousness.
Today we are facing unprecedented tragedies and challenges both in the United States and around the world. These are coupled with the past year of "century" weather patterns, and topped off by the sluggish global recovery from the most interconnected economic downturn our planet has ever known.
All of these are indicators that things are not alright.
At the very least, things are shifting. According to geologists and economists alike, we've entered the Anthropocene -- the age of man -- which follows the relatively stable Holocene period. According to a report released by the Smithsonian in October, 2012:
A consensus has been reached that the tremendous scope of transformations now occurring on the Earth, with profound effects on plants, animals, and natural habitats, is primarily the result of human activities.... On a geological scale the planet has entered a new era. Natural processes that control the functioning of the planet have been interrupted, refashioned, or accelerated over the last thousand years by human civilization. No longer can nature be studied or understood in isolation from the human world.
This is the first time that human beings have lived in a world that we have created through human activity. Our growing population and subsequent demand for natural resources has caused us to extract to the extreme and to unintentionally impact the world around us to such a severe degree that we have formed our own climate, one that produces less snow and more Sandys, one that exposes our vulnerabilities in the face of extreme weather, and one that calls us to question whether or not we are safe in our current surroundings. It's not just the weather, either. We've also created a world where we are seemingly more interconnected than we have ever been, yet we have lost our ability to really connect; we're terrified of each other.
So here we are, today, facing these global challenges as a divided species. But these challenges are not insurmountable and now, the day before the alleged end it all, it is time for us to charter a new course and recognize that we can take these challenges on as one unified group.
Meanwhile, the rising generation is fortuitously primed and ready to envision and embrace a more just, holistic and sustainable future. Generational theory suggests that certain generational "types" occur in cycles. So the Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and the Millennials are just the modern-day versions of the same kind of groups that have reoccurred throughout history, in the same pattern, as a result of the way they were raised and the current events that were occurring when they grew up. Our generation -- the Millennials -- is the newest version of the "Civic Generation" -- a progressive, active, involved, motivated and compassionate type of generation. The same type which, when it occurred in previous cycles, collectively acted towards healing the world. The last Civic Generation that occurred in the previous cycle was the Great Generation: the same group of people who traveled across the ocean and fought a war to defend our nation's values and liberties, then came home to rebuild our broken country. The impact that generation made on America and on the rest of the world is still reverberating today, and if we apply ourselves, we can have a similar effect. Our capacity for greatness is unfathomable.
Sure some call us lazy and most hate on hipsters, but in truth we're a compassionate, open-minded, civil and pragmatic group of individuals. We know the systems currently in place are ineffective at best, truly damaging at worst, and we simply don't believe that our current tactics are going to build the bridge towards the future we want, the future we believe we deserve and the future we know we can create.
Perhaps tomorrow, Friday, December 21st 2012, will just be another day. In all likelihood it will come and go just as the rest of them have come and gone. But perhaps -- perhaps -- we can seize this moment and recognize that something is, in fact, happening. Now is the time to look at our lives -- to critically examine how we are treating ourselves, our planet and eachother -- with an open and critical eye, and to recognize that there is a better way.
If we can collectively agree on which issues stand in the way of human beings living in a way that is both sustainable and enjoyable, then surely we can realistically figure out how to address them. We must transform our current dialogue, eliminate the intolerably vapid rhetoric, and constructively work together to create the world we want to live in. The Millennials are already leading this charge. A fellow HuffPost blogger Jermaine Spradley said it best in calling our generation to action:
What exactly am I proposing our generation do? I am proposing that we be the people we were born to be. We have more access to information, a deeper and more ingrained attachment to technology and more education that any generation our country and world has ever known. Now is our time to use it. Now is our time to step out on our own and chart our own course through the world. It starts with a dream, and then a plan, but most importantly it requires courage. The courage to not be afraid of our potential. The courage to risk failure for the sake of our country. We no longer have the luxury to allow fear to guide our careers. Commit yourself to your dream. Create a plan to bring that dream to fruition. Plan your exit strategy and leave that job you hate. Let our generation take responsibility for our future and begin building the world we want to see. This is [our] charge. This is our manifesto.
We can do this. We can rise from these ashes and rally together, knowing that the pending global shift will end in inspired triumph. We have the tools. We have the drive. We have the passion, and our time is now.