Monday, February 18, 2008

Where Are You?

Okay, have you seen what the social entrepreneurs are doing? They are simply remaking the planet. They are not waiting until the government, or somebody else takes care of the poor, fixes the environment, or offers empowerment to the underpriviledged. By the power of passion and some really incredible ideas, they are choosing to do something about this planet before it is too late.

If you are confused at this point and have no clue what I'm talking about, let me recommend a book. The Power of Unreasonable People by John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan. Though I thought I was up to date with reasonable solutions to the worlds problems, these people are turning things on their heads. What are they doing? Look up the Aravind Eye Care System in India, the Social Stock Exchange in Brazil, ParqueSoft in Colombia, The Marine Stewardship Council in theUnited Kingdom and the Institute for OneWorld Health and One Laptop Per Child, both in the US. I'm not going to describe them here, that what the internet is for. Believe me, you won't believe what you find.

However, I'm also embarrassed. I was a part of the generation that was going to save the world (a younger part, but a part nonetheless). We protested, wrote letters, marched and had sit-ins. I was proud of my generation when we stood up to the world, protested a war, ended most of the remaining discrimination based on race and gender, and looked toward a hopeful future. Now when I look around (and I count myself in this group too) our sit-ins are at Starbucks, or Barnes and Nobel, our last "march" wasn't a protest, but a month on a calendar, and any time we get really upset, we might place an electronic signature on a mass generated email.

I love that these individuals (okay, I'll call them "young people" because they are all a lot younger than me) are not waiting for permission to do it right. They are just doing it. They are recreating the way money gets to the poor, pushing for a realization of the global footprint of every industry and.... well, hopefully they are embarrassing us into action.

It causes me to stop and look at my life and I hope it does the same for you. Since when have we become so focused on protecting our square-footage that we've lost sight of the bigger picture. There are people starving, and they don't have to. We have the ability, means and distribution to end poverty and hunger now. Do we have the desire?

Look around. Once again young people are marching to change things. But they are not marching for their own rights, but for those of others. I've been through this before, and so have many of you. But the last time, we were the ones in the street. Where are you now?