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Home / Articles / Columnists / On the Bright Side /  It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine!
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Thursday, July 5,2012

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine!

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  
Now that 2012 is upon us, there is almost as much buzz about what it could mean as there was for Y2K. For those who view December 12, 2012 (the day the Mayan “Long Count” calendar cycle runs out) as Doomsday, consider that perhaps the end of the world as we know it does not need to mean apocalypse, but rather awakening. This is an idea that Barbara Max Hubbard has been working to bring to light for the past forty years. Hubbard, a long time visionary and futurist, has decided to embrace the end of the 5,126 year calendar cycle as a birthday for a new consciousness. She began her career in the 1960s and has been an outspoken advocate for a more enlightened planet ever since. I read an interview with her recently where she voiced her firm in the belief that there will be a time when humanity as a whole (or at least a majority) will evolve into the next epoch of humans who will successfully realize the sustainability formula.

Few would disagree that the last 500 years of exploration, imperialism, industrialization, and exploitation have put us on a collision course with Mother Nature, as well as each other.

Even those who espouse the benefits of globalization acknowledge its damage when touting the benefits that outweigh the costs. What I like about Hubbard’s outlook is that she presents a bigger picture and rises above any narrative involving blame. She reminds me of the voices back in the eighteenth century who challenged Thomas Malthus when he alerted the world to the fact that the food supply would not be able to sustain the exponential population growth. Those cornucopian voices offered an alternative to Malthus’ dire warnings at the time by suggesting that the world need not end as a seething caldron of war, disease and starvation, but rather that necessity would once again be the “mother of invention.” Sure enough, the Industrial Revolution ushered in a new era of solutions to problems we didn’t even know we had. And while it also ushered in all sorts of new issues, the very ones we are dealing with today, this is exactly why Hubbard’s voice is so relevant to me.

The two world wars of the past century were remnants of the old world order. They were the culmination of thousands of years of empire building. By 1945, with the world a much “smaller” place, it was obvious that the age of one king ruling us all would not work. This fact, coupled with the new dangers of a nuclear age, had world leaders in the twentieth century trying desperately to address the issues of colonialism, poverty, and terrorism through a less than perfect (but I would argue better than nothing) United Nations. Certainly not perfect, but the Cold War did end without nuclear holocaust and there hasn’t been another world war. Which brings us back to the idea that started this historical analysis: 2012.

It is easy to see how tempting it can be to point to all of the pain and suffering in the world or to the hole in the ozone layer, global climate change, the recent economic meltdowns and the War on Terror as signs that we are heading for a crash. But to Barbara Max Hubbard, and the millions who have joined her global network, The Shift, these are signs that humanity is ready for the next phase in our development. And it seems they are on to something. The “sustainability sector” is one of the fastest growing sectors of the world economy. More and more people are embracing the idea that less is more. At some point the scales will tip in favor more sustainable living and sharing of resources out of sheer necessity. I agree with Hubbard... this shift is already happening.

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