This is more than just wishful thinking. Sustainable Society Leaders, that is, those who can show a practical, tangible path to a more egalitarian, sustainable, responsible and personally empowering future for everybody, will be the rock stars of the 21st century. Current day ‘haters’ (particularly politicians and talk show hosts) ridicule anyone offering anything other than the game plan they’ve always known. As if their plan is working.
Anyone paying attention to things in the US know the country is being run into the ground and that the current leaders don’t seem to have a clue for a better way forward. Protest isn’t leadership. It’s a complaint. Cutting the budget is not a plan. It’s a reaction. Both cutting and complaining are important parts of the process, but the most critical part is planning and creating a vision. This is the part Sustainable Society Leaders can own.
Sustainable Society Leaders must step into the leadership gap and definitively lay out plans and infrastructure design for organic farming, sustainable production methods, personal empowerment education, the cooperative company model, environmental responsibility and true free enterprise. When these things are in place, songwriters will write songs to these new leaders, sonnets will be written of their bravery, statues will be erected in their honor, holidays will be established….
Okay….. not so much. But there are some things that will start to emerge that will create an opportunity for Sustainability to take front and center stage in American society.
I’m not a soothsayer, mentalist or Psychic, but the political realities of how things work in the US lead me to this prediction: Should President Barack Obama get re-elected for his second term in 2012, you can be sure he will move quickly into a budget cutting mode that will mean a level of austerity Americans have never seen before. From a political perspective, Obama knows he has to provide some level of leadership on the most pressing issue of our time, or his legacy will be forever tarnished as the President who kicked the can down the road. His communication skills make him the likely person to take this subject to the American people in a way many will be able to wrap their heads around.
Yes, a Republican could get elected during the election, but as in the tradition of most US presidents, first term Presidents are not inclined to do the tough stuff. It’s the second term that Presidents think about their legacy. Should my prediction come true, there will be much hand wringing and gnashing of teeth, but I believe you can take this prediction to bank. For Sustainable Society Leaders in the US, now is the time to get in front of this issue. Knowing that things are going to change means there is going to be a true need for leaders to articulate two things:
1. What’s in store for the average person during this change.
2. A vision of life after the change. There is nothing more frightening to the human psyche than living in mystery and having no hope for the future.
Sustainable Society Leaders can provide a haven of clarity and hope at a time when most others (especially those dreaded politicians and talk show hosts) will constantly paint the bleakest and most dire world. Even more, Sustainable Society Leaders can best explain why these changes are needed as we go cold turkey from what was. Adopting a Sustainable Society philosophy is more than about budget cutting, it’s about a better way to live so that future generations won’t see us as that irresponsible group that wasn’t bright enough to look beyond our own immediate gratification.
Even more, it’s about showing our children now that our society has moved from adolescence to adulthood and that we can handle the reins of leadership with maturity. Of course, everybody’s not going to be ‘feeling’ that level of responsibility. You’ll see them. They will be the people who will take their bat and ball and go home. That’s why Sustainable Society Leaders will stand out during this time. They will be the ones that say “we’ll just create another game – one that all of us can play”.
I don’t want to sound too romantic about the road ahead, but as the old saying goes – “never let a crisis go to waste”. Sustainable Society Leaders must use this window to establish the fact that a philosophy of Sustainability won’t be more of the same, but a whole new direction that offers more, is more meaningful and is built based on the long view.
Strap on your leather pants and head out to the stage, rock star. Your moment has arrived.