Responding to 2016

I've been thinking out how to respond to this basket of ills called 2016. I guess I can accept that people (celebrities, actors) will die. The hard bit to accept is the rise of #brexit and Trump and what appears to be this shift to the right, towards nationalism, populism and fascism. I'm pretty dismayed about all of this -- starting really from the election of John Howard's conservative government in Australia in 1996. My view was that the future was supposed to be kind, compassionate and generous and that all of us working together over time would help lift all humans out of poverty and degradation.

So, I'm disappointed for the future that I felt was my right in some way.

But how to respond to this? What to do? It feels like the old tools of protest, strike and ideological war just aren't going to work any more. Nor are the tooling of well-argued arguments, experts or facts.

I'm thinking I'm going to need to do a few things myself, locally, amongst my own community. Maybe you might join in among your community?

Engage more broadly - It is easy enough to live in my metro-elite liberal bubble, but I'm not hearing anything from a lot of fellow citizens that are very angry, possibly struggling to survive and thrive. So, I'm going to open more conversations with people who are not like me, who I'd normally not speak to. And listen. Listen. Not try and argue what I think is right. I want to understand a bit more broadly how it is for people. Different people. I'll have to be a bit fearless to do this. Small steps first.

Improve the local environment - My local authority in the UK is struggling to make ends meet. I want to help out and improve my local community by turning the 'pick up a bit of litter' into a proper habit - to tidy up near where I live and where I commute on foot to and from work. I've usually got a plastic shopping bag somewhere in my backpack. I'm going to put it to good use when there is a lot of trash around.

Look for good news and share it - On social media, I'm going to be looking for and sharing positive stories rather than the negative and shocking ones. For amongst all this shift to the right, there are so many wonderful people doing wonderful things. And sharing these stories with each other keeps some hope alive. And watching every frame of the #brexit or Trump train-wreck really doesn't help my mind.

So, this is my small something, my tiny response to 2016. I hope this helps me and I hope it helps you.

Happy 2017. May it bring many positive surprises for you.

Originally published in a facebook post.