Look at the latest news on the coronavirus crisis. While our government has consistently drained CDC resources lately and severely compromise the countries' ability to act to contain the spread, society is quickly mobilizing to help on the task. Significant events were responsibly canceled by corporations, regardless of the financial loss (SXSW, we still hope you will take the high road). Companies are trusting employees to work remotely, and every public place is leading a deep clean of their sites. Most people I know are holding kids home if they show signs of sickness, and washing hands frequently and thoroughly. Not everyone is acting responsibly and not all the time. Still, everyone laughs and ignores when the president says that you can go work if your symptoms are mild (how irresponsible!) or that we will have a vaccine in a year (immediately denied by health officials). In the end, our daily conscious acts are what matters.
"Sometimes, you need darkness to see the light," says the famous quote.
And the dystopic problems we are facing today sometimes feel like black holes sucking our energy, but they also bring inside the catalytic power to mobilize and drive change. They are putting in check our existence, safety, morals, beliefs, and potentially our legacy. Look at Global Warming as an example. Science is showing recurrent signals and facts that show it is not only real, but we might be reaching irreversibility sooner than expected. Every day, it becomes more evident that we need to jump and act immediately to stop and reverse it. Simultaneously, we see the news about the lobby of the oil-dependent industry counter-balancing action and disseminating misinformation. That resistance sparks activism at all levels.
Governments around the world are committing to reducing emission levels, creating incentives to renewable energy sources and investments in R&D. Companies are rethinking packaging, logistics energy consumption, natural resources utilization, and how to be sustainable overall. Schools are actively educating our kids and the community about the impact we all can drive by learning how to act decisively. The vast majority of us are actively engaged in electing better behaviors and ways of doing things. Every day we choose to be more energy-efficient, to consume less and better, to protect nature by recycling according to the rules, to reduce carbon emissions, to reduce waste, and the list grows. Maybe not all of us, not all the time, but the mobilization is palpable, at scale, and imposing. Beyond the movement it has sparked, our everyday conscious acts have the power to pressure companies to adapt, influence others in the community, and our votes to change policymaking.
Expected and not surprising. What is stunning is the extensive list of things we have been consciously acting to change. And most of them were not a thing a few years ago. Think about the recent impact of the #metoo #BlackLivesMatter #MFOLParkland movements. The more conscious we are about our choices, the more good we will promote-and nothing can stop us now. We are engaged in correcting many social problems our politicians have not been showing the will or the leadership to do—all kinds of injustice, threat, and unethical behaviors. The number of people adopting a plant-based diet in the US grew more than 600% last year, organic food sales are on the rise, "Diversity and Inclusion" are reshaping the C-suite; Inequality is dominating the political discussion for November. LGBTQ+ rights, UBI, accessible health care. CEOs are dropping out of companies for unethical behaviors; progressive States are propelling minimum wage, building affordable houses, and reducing incarceration in favor of social reintegration policies. We have stopped using plastic bottles and straws, bought Teslas and renewable sourced energy, and digitalized everything else, decreasing our footprint. New ETFs made of sustainable companies only are on the rise showing that investors also want to make a difference.
I have not been in a social gathering of any sort where those conversations have not dominated the floor, creating awareness to some and imposing new behaviors to many. I have heard many complaints about how tiring and exhausting the transformation is. It can trigger thoughts about how easy it was to live in previous decades. The key is it is true maybe to some people, but not to most of us. No society in history was healthy or happy with high inequality. Our own conscious small daily actions may not cover the full spectrum of changes needed, or the totality of opportunities we have. But collectively, they are step by step, elevating every aspect of our lives and shaping a better world—one with a growth mindset, kindness to each other, ethical behaviors, and respect to our democratic core values. Thus, please take a deep breath and think about the consequences before sneezing, trashing the milk cartoon, buying a car, or voting!