In order to create social change that makes a difference, I believe that we need to do what I've been calling 'Mobilize the Middle'. And we need to do it now. The 'Middle' are the fence sitters, specifically those who aren't involved in stuff but want to be. Stuff can be anything. Climate Change action, local events, activism/politics...anything. Meet 'The Middle': they are middle aged (40-60 yrs), work in middle management, with middle-class incomes, in medium-sized homes. 'The Middle' generally has disposable income, is usually educated in a formal way, they almost always vote, and there are a lot of them. The only reason that I think 'The Middle' is important is because there are so many of them and I see some real power in that. Let's think about how big the Baby Boomer population in Canada/US is and what has been happening to our North American culture ever since they were born. Or just take my word for it and believe that its a lot and think about the power in their numbers. Power to do a lot of good or a lot of bad. Because I prefer to use my powers for good and I think that most people do, I choose to look at this huge and powerful group as an exciting way to create change. I think that if we can motivate 'The Middle', we can do anything.
Why are you here? mypg Youth Workshop 2009
banner in downtown PG 2010
So, 'The Middle' want change but why? Because they want to break out of their mediocre (read: boring) lives. They are smart and they want to do something smart. They used be involved in stuff and want that feeling back; they are searching for meaning at the mall, let's help them get involved in stuff that is important. Right now, 'The Middle' feel like they are watching the 'Awesome Event' from the crowd and are just waiting to be invited to come out and play. So let's do that, let's show them the way out of their boring existence, let's invite them the come out and participate in change.
myPG Land Use Session: 'Top Actions'
Well heck, who really knows? Though I do know that it begins with all of us and begins now.
Do you want a list of ideas? Ok, here goes.
1. We need to be out there all the time doing what we do on the off chance that if nothing else, others will see it, hear about it, or think about it and they will be inspired to do something too.
2. We need to challenge ourselves to think big when we seek to create change, trusting that in time that others will join and the movement towards change will happen (because it has to?).
3. We need to be patient with the process and know that actual change will happen. When enough people think a certain different way than we/they used to, a change has occurred. That's it.
4. We need to trust that change is happening even though we can't see it. We need to be okay with not ever seeing the change that we are working towards. This doesn't mean that we won't live that long though that may happen too, but rather that change is a tricky thing, it's not something that you see until after it has happened.
5. We need to be okay with failing.
6. We need to be okay with succeeding.
I realize this is a sad attempt at making something concrete or saying anything at all, as if making a list will give these points more meaning. My thoughts at this point are just that, thoughts. Maybe there aren't any answers, I tend to think that would be too easy and besides the point. Making change is difficult, so we want an easy way to create change? I don't think so!
At the same time though, we need to make it easy for others to do stuff, to join in, to start change. We need to tell 'The Middle': "hey! it's easy to make change, here's how..." while we know at the same time that it's really fucking hard to do it.
Then again, maybe change isn't hard but it's the waiting for change that is the hard part.
What do you think? What have you done to create change?What can we do to create change? What would it take to motivate you to make change?