Just Show Up

People often say to me “Why go to protests? They don’t change anything.” Usually my response relates to the necessity of an actively engaged population within a democracy. If we’re not on the streets asking for change then change won’t happen. The usually response to that is a lame excuse that we can’t change the institutionalized systems.
occupy
We can and we do.

If 2011 has taught us anything it’s that being on the streets matter. Talking politics matters. Talking about injustice matters. Telling friends why you’re protesting something matters. Voting matters. Writing politicians matters. It all matters.

Not going to protests and not talking about these things ensures that change will not happen. If anything, if people aren’t involved then the change that happens is usually the change that isn’t good for society.

So let’s change things for the better. Let’s do this because we can and because we need to.

Looking back on 2011 we have seen a near-global awakening of people-powered movements that come in a different form everywhere. We’ve heard a lot about Egypt and Libya in the west but there have been more. Some are still ongoing in Syria, Bahrain, and many other Middle Eastern countries. Closer to home in North America we have the Occupy Movement.

All of these movements have different concerns, different people, different reasons why they are on the street. They even have different goals.

There is one thing that they all have in common from Occupy Sydney to the oppressed people of Bahrain: to make the world a better place through democratic inclusion.

Who can’t get behind that?

For the upcoming year of 2012 I challenge every reader of Things Are Good to get out there and just show up at your local protest for positive change.

The Arab Spring initiated a jarring series of events in 2011 that illustrate the radical political possibilities of just being present. When the regime won’t listen, when being heard as an individual isn’t really a viable option, simply standing together and being seen can be profoundly political and empowering.

But will just “being there” really bring significant change?

Revolutions never happen overnight. They result from accumulations of dozens, even hundreds of moments, often stretching over a period of years, that make possible the ruptures that emerge when vast numbers of people begin to imagine, and then to demand, an alternative to their living conditions. We have been seeing these moments over the past year, first in the Middle East but then spreading to England, Brazil, Spain, Great Britain, the United States, and elsewhere. In this sense, we are experiencing a revolutionary moment in which the popular perception of what is possible has indisputably shifted in a way unseen on a global scale since 1968.

The Radical Power of Just Showing Up.

11 Predictions for Green Buildings in 2011

Here is one person’s take on predictions for green buildings in 2011, and I like it. The list is pretty focused on the USA but has relevance throughout the world, check it out to see what types of new and proposed buildings to expect this year.

9. District Scale: Living Blocks
Resource allotment and direct collaboration with the private and public stakeholders will continue to provide opportunities for district scale “living blocks.” Taking a page from our European counterparts, block-scale solutions have enjoyed a large amount of attention in 2010. 2011 should represent the year when these practices get put into action in cities like Portland and Denver. The Living City Block and the Alliance for a Sustainable Colorado are working to advance a model that we be implemented throughout the U.S.

10. Mainstream Green
Green building will learn to move away from an elite culture and adopt the language and practices which will deliver a more accessible industry. The mainstreaming of green building is a tough practice given that you are dealing with topics connected to professions like architecture and engineering where acronyms and obscure scientific terms grow like weeds. As it becomes more and more important to provide relevant products and services to the mainstream user, the industry must consider how it names and markets products and services. A bioswale landscape feature does not naturally engage the community it is located in until the public starts to think of it as a beautiful “rain garden” in the neighborhood. Positioning our technology, products, and services in a way that engages the people, business communities and municipalities that they serve will decide who stays in a market that is quickly filling up with competition.

Read the complete list here.

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