The other posts in this series can be found here. The first one with an explanation of what this is about is here.
It feels like so much happened in 2006 that's it impossible to pick one or two major events! More to the point, I feel like every event on every scale was important. After all, big things tend to be made up of lots of little things, like grassroots efforts culminating in policy change, or reduced energy use by millions affecting emissions worldwide.
That said, what I personally found most interesting in 2006, and what I'd like to see more of in 2007, was the introduction of (Project) RED in March.Now, I realize this is a somewhat controversial choice. After all, there are plenty of environmental ramifications in tacking social or environmental causes onto increased consumerism (as at least one debate has shown). And I'm sure there are more than a few old-school, die-hard environmentalists who would describe (Project) RED as an unholy alliance or worse. I share some of those fears, but I also see great potential for this kind of endeavor if encouraged to bloom.
First, there's the subversion of the existing infrastructure. For so many years, social and environmental causes have been stigmatized as being bad for business, at irrational loggerheads with saner commerce. Yet here we have a program that creates a win-win-win-win situation for consumers, corporations, charities, and people in need in Africa. And this result is achieved by working within the system, not outside or against it.
At the same moment, it's now cool to care. The genius of branding values shines through, just as it did (perhaps accidentally) with the Prius. Combining fashion with activism has made it simpler (and more attractive) for people to make a difference, and does wonders for raising awareness. After all, the sooner these issues enter the mainstream, the sooner we reach the tipping point. Just imagine if the organic food movement could harness this kind of strategy!
Finally, I'm heartened by the innovative thinking behind (Project) RED. In reaching for a sustainable future, we must draw upon inspiration and contributions from as many sources as possible. In doing so we may find ourselves collaborating with strange bedfellows, but we may also find this approach opens more doors than it closes. In (Project) RED we have one example. How many more can we produce?
My hope is that these trends continue to blossom in 2007. Happy New Year, and here's to collaboration, caring, creativity, and conscious action!