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Social Change: is Embracing a New Paradigm

Sep 25, 2015 ● By Emanuel Kuntzelman

These are different times. Globalization, for better or worse, is a double-edged sword when it comes to its effects on cultures and traditions, and has brought about a human interconnectedness like we have never had before.

This is a game-changer. The rules are different and a positive effect can be seen in our awareness, need and approach to solving crises around the world. Through crowdfunding, social media communication and cooperation, anyone can have the power to join this conscious movement at a grassroots level. When the change we are asking for involves saving our planet and helping each individual enjoy their basic, human needs, it is becoming more difficult for people not to support these causes.

One of the keys to a successful social transformation is to discover our unifying story, one that shifts toward a deep respect for all fellow humans and the environment. Our collaborative efforts are no longer about simply alleviating grievances or just one specific cause; this planetary awakening encompasses all facets of personal and social transformation.

In the past, when we looked at the sociology behind previous movements, there tended to be a limited analytical approach to summarizing the differences between collective behavior and social movement. What we are seeing today is not just one organized group working together, but a self-organized and organic collaboration between many groups of people working for the greater good of the planet and all of humanity.

This revolution is not being led by an organization one can dissect. Environmental author Paul Hawken has wryly noted that there is no white, male vertebrate in charge here. There are no “isms” driving the philosophy behind this, unless it is something akin to standard “humanism” where we respect everyone’s rights and treat them with compassionate understanding.

Sociologist Peter Dreyer said, “Every social movement has a division of labor.” But this is no mere social movement, and any division of labor will be filled by non-governmental organizations stepping forth to fulfill needs as the transformation grows. We are not going to have to depend on committees and the election of officials. This movement is widespread and spontaneous, and happening before our eyes.

With our fresh water supplies drying up, deep spiritual conflicts being broadcast in the media and general unrest and violence occurring daily, we can see we are in need of a transformation. Despite what feels like a movement that is deeply divided, this is the very time we must actively engage in radical inclusion. This doesn’t mean that we all have to agree on extremist actions and opinions or condone them, but what it does mean is that we need to understand these conflicting ideas in a larger transformative context and see them as part of the evolutionary process. This will come with our growth in emotional intelligence in society as a whole.

To successfully ascend our evolutionary wave, we can’t set out to crush and destroy the current system, because we’re all interdependent. Instead, we must transform the system from the inside out. This can be done in a number of ways.

We can collaborate with like-minded people and be generous with resources. When we are able to share leadership roles and a common goal, we can work together to create spaces where people’s voices can be heard and ideas respected and discussed.

It’s also important as we work toward our evolutionary transformation to consider projects and changes that are beneficial for the community, rather than the agenda of a few. What can often be most difficult, but in the end extremely important, is focusing on coherence and consent, rather than engaging in debates that polarize the process. This creates an environment where people are engaged and empowered by knowing they are working toward changes that will be long-lasting.

As a human species, we are realizing that we are all part of a grand movement. We are not a flawed or innately greedy species. Perhaps we have manifested this impression a great deal over the course of history, partially because it was easy to get away with it. That is no longer the case within the new paradigm. The leaders of the next generation will not have made their money building bombs and selling plastic, but instead will be the visionary thinkers spontaneously arising that have gained their influence by the amount of social enterprise and goodwill they have generated.


Emanuel Kuntzelman is founder and president of Greenheart International, a global nonprofit that connects people and planet to create a more peaceful and sustainable global community via programs fostering cultural exchange, eco-fair trade, volunteerism, personal development and environmentalism. For more information, visit