The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Friday 2 November 2012

Maybe the Mayans

We have less than two months.  At least that is what the doomsayers say about the coming end of the Mayan calendar.  Just four days before Christmas this year a 5,125 year long Mayan calendar cycle comes to an end.

Some predict that this heralds the end of the world.  Others say that it means that humanity will undergo a spiritual transformation.

The systems thinker, Ervin Laszlo, has used the date as a reference point to the crossroads at which humanity presently stands.  His view is that we are in a period of transition.  Transition to what?  Reflecting the conflicting predictions of the Mayan calendar believers, Laszlo suggests that we face one of two scenarios; breakdown or breakthrough.

We could breakdown and experience catastrophic natural disasters, wide-spread famines, rampant global pandemics, lingering droughts, severe flooding, serious water shortages, increasing distrust and anger.  All of which could fuel resource wars and acts of global terrorism.  In short, a breakdown of any semblance of human decency and order on a grand scale.

Or, suggests Laszlo, we could breakthrough and realise a humanity based on greater compassion, respect and mutual cooperation.  Concurrent with greater social cohesion and well-being would also come a desire for equitable, sustainable practises that would slow, halt and, eventually, turn back the detrimental effects of our growth-at-all-costs mentality of the past few centuries.

To Laszlo and others the end of the Mayan calendar could be a wake-up call that we humans need to hear.

So too could hurricanes such as Superstorm Sandy currently making headlines around the world.  Although Hurricane Sandy is a weather system and cannot be thought of as climatic in nature, many climate scientists find it difficult to track the connections between climate change and specific weather patterns, but acknowledge a link

In order for an hurricane (along with typhoons and cyclones) to form, the sea surface temperature must be warm.  Over the past few decades sea surface temperature has increased and in that time the annual number of intense storms (category 4 and 5) has nearly doubled.  Not only has the number doubled but they also make up a much larger share of all categories of storm.  In short, storms are getting more intense and bigger.

Indeed, Superstorm Sandy is the largest diameter Atlantic hurricane on record.

Another wake-up call?

A Role for Community Development

Community development workers must be amongst the first to hear those calls and respond to them.  It will increasingly become a fundamental role of the community development worker to enable communities to build resilience in the face of dawning changes.  Simultaneously, helping communities to envision a future of breakthrough will also be a key task for community development workers.

If community development workers haven’t heard or understood the thinking behind the phrase “think global, act local”, now is a time to do so.

It is time for community development workers to actively become community educators also.

Can we do it?  Can we breakthrough rather than breakdown?  Have we passed the tipping point?
Who can tell?  I’m reminded of the Chinese diplomat who, when asked what he thought of the French revolution, responded with “hmmm… too early to tell.”

It may be too early to tell.  It may (pessimistically) be too late to alter the outcome.

But it’s not too early, or too late, to act.


  1. I think Sandy has definitely been a wake-up call over here for sure. I hope that, through this tragedy, more light can be shed on climate change.

    1. Beyond light being shed I guess what is further needed is that those with the power to implement change notice what is in the torchlight.


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