MARCH 2006 FEATURE ARTICLE
by Maya del Mar
It is distressing to watch and participate in the path down which the United States is going. Every day there is some new action of destructionhuge attacks on civil liberties, on clear, honest elections, on democracy, on working people, on minorities, on the environment, on values which care about human needs and a decent life, using vast resources to support a bloated military-industrial complex, the commoditizing of everything. The list could go on and onand does.
Along with this is a foreign policy which carries us into hugely destructive wars, with truly uncountable costs, and an isolation from the rest of the world when we need to, and could, all be working together to create a livable and sustainable life for everyone on the planet.
Many of us are extremely frustrated with the values which this pathway represents, and with our own participation in it. We often feel powerless to make any dent in the juggernaut which seems to be bearing down on us.
I want to make two points. One is that this is not a new path for the United States. However, the tempo has stepped up in a multitude of ways, and its impact increases at a constantly accelerating rate. The current Administration, with its ruthless and blatant expression, makes obvious this destructive path.
As more and more people wake up, the nation is coming to a new awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of the United States. The current Administration does us the favor of making very obvious some of what is not working. This is necessary before we can create positive change.
My second point is that many people are not only saying No, but finding ways to say Yes. This is true of many of our readers, I know. Most of this life-affirmative behavior does not often get published in the mainstream news. But there is a magazine that focuses on positive futures, YES! Ive reviewed it a couple of times in the past, but now I want to especially celebrate its tenth anniversary with a review of a few of the articles in the current issue.
It is very timely to focus on YES!, a positively-oriented pioneering endeavor, in the bright light of the enthusiastic Aries energy which begins to come through with the Spring Equinox. We feel like saying YES to life, YES to the bright spark of spirit now being kindled.
YES! Is published by the Positive Futures Network, an independent nonprofit organization that supports peoples active engagement in creating a more just, sustainable, and compassionate world. It was founded by David and Frances Korten, whose activism I have been reading about for years. The address is 10818, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110. Im really glad that they are going strong, after starting on a shoestring. Their growth shows the value of YES! Email is: email@example.com. The website is www.yesmagazine.org. One year costs $24.
There are four seasonal issues each year. The current issue is Spring 2006. It features such articles as
10 most hopeful trends of the last 10 years
Planet at the crossroads
Heroes for an unheroic time
(Re)claiming the good life
50 ways to surviveand thrivefor the next 10 years
Indigenous rights go global
New (and ancient) understanding of who we are
Why the next 10 years will be nothing like the last
New cosmology: a great storyour common story
The reclaiming of democracy
This is Vandana Shiva, from her book Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability and Peace (South End Press, 2005):
Earth Democracy connects us through the perennial renewal and regeneration of lifefrom our daily life to the life of the universe. Earth Democracy is the story of our times, in our different places. It pulsates with the limitless potential of an unfolding universe even while it addresses the real threats to our very survival as a species. It is hope in a time of hopelessness, it brings forth peace in a time of wars without end, and it encourages us to love life fiercely and passionately at a time when leaders and the media breed hatred and fear.
Vandana Shiva is a physicist, an ecologist, an educator, an activist, and a writer. In India she works very effectively on behalf of the earth and the earths people. Her vision of the world honors all of life. She helps people empower themselves by creating living, local economies with local democratic control. She has been showing for 30 years that a better way is not only possible. It is coming into being.
YES! Will be continued. And I invite inspiring stories from readers. In the meantime, up with liberty! Up with justice! Up with joy! Spring is coming!