FourYearsGo: Getting It and Diving In

Earth living planet

The following is a guest post written by Tom Atlee of The Co-Intelligence Institute. It can also be found on his Posterous website here. Tom is the author of The Tao of Demorcracy and the recently published, Reflections on Evolutionary Activism: Essays, Poems, and Prayers From an Emerging Field of Sacred Social Change.

Dear friends,

FourYearsGo (4YG) is a planetary effort to draw together people and organizations working to shift civilization in positive directions, with the intention to make clear progress by 2014.  Their view is that the next four years will determine the quality of life on earth for the next thousand years.  I believe there is tremendous truth and power in that perspective.

I've seen many wildly ambitious visions like this.  They tend to remain fringe.  It seems clear to me now that 4YG is not  destined to be fringe.  With its combination of light organizational touch, laser-focused intention and professional support, I expect it will expand quite rapidly.  Only months into its existence, over 500 organizations have joined, including both mainstream and leading edge.  I sense this is something very real.  Heaven knows, we need it.

I have decided to put time into helping the 4YG campaign become a force for innovation, coherence, influence, and co-evolution among the many individuals and groups who are getting involved in it.  I see tremendous potential here and I invite you to both join it and support its evolution into potency.  I know many reading this could play a significant role in that.

On the surface, 4YG can seem like just a loose collection of people and organizations who have pledged to upgrade their separate efforts in the next four years in the hope that together they can add up to the needed global shift.  This, in itself, is commendable.  But it would not be revolutionary.

There is, however, more to it than that and, with a little effort, I believe this initiative could attain unprecedented potency.  Here are a few areas of evolutionary leverage I see:

1.  With the volunteer help of social networks and one of the top ad agencies in the world (whose founder was profoundly impacted by a trip to the Peruvian rainforest), it may be possible to create an operating environment in which the public, officials, philanthropists, and various other players "get" the 4YG vision and increasingly support ALL efforts to create meaningful shift.  The more this happens, the more it will inspire the ambitions of those working for change, creating a positive feedback loop that could lead to unforeseen breakthroughs.

2.  Wherever diverse people or groups gather together with a shared intention, there is potential for tremendous synergy.  There are no guarantees this potential will be realized, of course:  Participants can also get in each other's way -- for example, by competing for limited resources rather than building a larger common pool of resources or supporting each other in getting more mileage out of whatever resources they have.  Or they can keep their activities separate and unchanging so that new collaborations cannot emerge.  They can fight and argue endlessly about the "right way" to do things.  We've all seen this kind of thing.  However, we also know a lot collectively about how to avoid such pitfalls -- particularly using powerful conversational methods and online collaborative tools.  In the case of 4YG, the promise of productive synergies, collaborations, and co-evolution are so tantalizing that I believe it offers tremendous returns on whatever world-evolving effort, time, attention, or money we decide to invest in it.

3.  Whatever we learn about working together and co-evolving in such a massive planetary grassroots undertaking could inform -- and even become -- the workings of the wiser civilization we are trying to bring about. Anything that supports FourYearsGo to become a well-networked "learning community of practice" could serve not only its own efforts, but also help form the DNA of a new civilization.

I have my own ways of participating in this.  I encourage you to find ways that fit your own perspective, vision, gifts and style of work.  If this initiative speaks to you, I encourage you to go to the FourYearsGo website where you can learn more about it and sign up.  Let your own networks know about it, in your own way, as I am doing in this message.  Watch the 4YG video at and offer your vote and comments.  If you are on Facebook, join the 4YG group and recommend it to friends.  Social networking activities like this will raise the visibility of FourYearsGo to online communities so those who might resonate with it can join in.

If you have special skills, ideas or resources you would like to volunteer to this effort, let me or Michael Dowd know and we'll try to channel them to those who can best use them to help this activity blossom and bear fruit.

We are entering interesting rapids, filled with possibility.  Blessings on the Journey.