The change is in your pocket

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Issue #225
ON SALE TILL
24 November
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ISSUE #225 ON SALE TILL 24 November
189-cover

The end of the world as we know it…here’s hoping

Posted on January 16, 2012  /  Comments Off  /  Show post tags

So, this is the year the world is supposed to end. I don’t quite believe “The End is Nigh” hysteria — and neither do most Mesoamerican experts. I’d wager the Mayans probably just ran out of clay to make another calendar beyond 2012. Or they reckoned they had made enough for a couple of centuries and needed a good old holiday. Maybe they even got unionised and went on strike. I can just picture those callus-handed workers, sick of painstakingly carving out all those symbols in circular stone slabs, downing tools and hitting the bargaining table: “Boss, we’ve made these damn calendars all the way to 2012, can’t we give it a break for a couple of years?” Little did the Mayans know they’d be wiped out before they had the chance to pick up their chisels again.

Regardless of the reason for the abrupt end to the calendars, I’m fairly confident the world’s not going to end on Sunday December 23rd, so much so that I’m prepared to take cash bets right now (a win-win wager for me because it’ll be tough to make me square up if I’m wrong). Yet I must apologise to those who do believe the end cometh and who may take offence to our tongue-in-cheek 12 Big Issues Mayan calendar cover for the January edition. Who knows, perhaps they’ll have the last laugh. Oh, wait, no they won’t…

I may be poking fun at the doomsday prophecies, but even though I don’t place much stock in the portend of an apocalypse I do seriously believe that 2012 will be a year of monumental change, locally and globally. It’s almost as if last year — kicking-off with the Arab Spring and ending with the global Occupy-something protests and the COP17 talks — was just the warm up for a massive global shake-up.

From the mighty United States to Europe, all the way to the Middle East and Asia, and right on our own doorstep it’s clear that something’s gotta give. As our 12 big issues for 2012 in the January edition illustrate, we can’t continue to live in a world that’s sucking up natural resources faster than the Earth can replenish them (or not). We can’t continue multiplying at the same rate now that we’ve hit the seven billion mark and food shortages and food riots are looming. We can’t keep ignoring the ever-widening wealth gap and allow the 1% to rule supreme over the other 99%, to steal the well-worn Occupy Wall Street slogan.

It’s become disconcertingly apparent that it’s no longer a case of whether something might happen to upset the lopsided balance our entire world order’s been teetering on so precariously, it’s now a case of when that’s going to happen — and it’s going to this year, I predict.

But it doesn’t necessarily have to play out like a B-grade sci-fi flick — Armageddon-style. There are enough people out there wanting to make this inevitable shift of balance a positive one that it could maybe, just maybe, be the end of the world as we know it and the start of a new, better beginning. Our Agent of Change for the January edition, James Fernie, neatly sums up what needs to be done if there’s even a small chance of this happening: “The consciousness of humanity has to change”. Now that’s a tall order for a New Year’s resolution.

Welcome to 2012.

Melany Bendix
Editor, The Big Issue SA


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