Spotlight Values Rio+20

Humanity stands at a defining moment in history. The pressing need to integrate our social and economic development with the responsibility of respecting the environment poses a creative challenge.

We are inspired by the vision of a world where every individual can develop to her or his own potential and live in harmony with the self and the natural world. For this vision to be realised, it is not enough that we depend on the world leaders alone. Considering that no one has a more important stake in the outcome of Rio +20 than the youth who will inherit this planet, it is also of enormous value how young people view the world. Such visions may initially appear naïve or utiopian but a lot of depth can be derived from them. This may be the pivotal factor in bringing about a radical change in the state of the world. Therefore it is imperative to provide young people with an opportunity or platform to express their vision and explore ways to bring it into reality.

There are many concerned young people who are proactive in ensuring that their voices are taken into consideration and they will continue to engage with the political, economic, social and environmental leaders of the world. However there are thousands of their peers, who for various reasons have not yet given consideration to the sustainable development initiative. Rio 2012 is an important opportunity that can become a powerful catalyst for these untapped young leaders, who have equal potential, to follow in the example of their more pro-active peers.

Each young person is the seed of a better world, gifted with the power to grow and change. The process of saving the world must begin with each young person embracing their capacity to contribute towards change in the world. The first step is to recognize the unbreakable link between the inner world of ideas, thoughts and concepts and the external world of events and circumstances. A possibility worth considering is that the link is the unspoken spiritual trajectory which explains the underlying process of how “saving the world” begins with each individual.

A Reflection
“Want to uplift the planet? Its starts with awareness… Thoughts come from the awareness that we hold. Thoughts becomes consciousness, consciousness becomes action, and action creates an impact. Powerful awareness leads to powerful thoughts, which leads to powerful consciousness, which leads to powerful action, which leads to powerful impact. Impact triggers change. One young person will share an inspiring thought with another… who will share with another… who will share with another… What started as one young person, soon will become 100 and then a thousand and then a million. The time to act is now. The time is to act collectively is now. It all starts and (ends) with awareness.”

The aforementioned reflection proposes that the root of all change lies in the mode of our thinking. Taking this into consideration, we aim to address this challenge with a cutting edge program SPOTLIGHT VALUES, which seeks to invite the world’s young camaraderie to engage in a process of creative interaction that will enable them to recognise, appreciate and develop confidence in their personal capacity to positively impact on all three pillars of sustainable development, ie environmental, social and economic.

Human values have the powerful potential to bring about a dramatic shift in lifestyle. As striking examples, Spotlight Values wants to illuminate this potential for transformation by focussing on the two values of dignity and simplicity.

Young people of today are often considered to be obsessed with keeping up with trends and therefore completely consumed by consumerism. However, within the Brahma Kumaris, there is a global network of young people (aged 16-35) who are practicing meditators and have proved this assumption otherwise. Committing themselves to sincere efforts to get in touch with their inner core of harmony, happiness and satisfaction, they have arrived at in inner space of contentment. At the heart of simplicity, lies a deep inner contentment. For these young people, there is no need to compensate for an inner deprivation with external acquisitions and therefore it is easy for them to sustain a simple lifestyle. With this simple lifestyle, they have naturally moved away from over consumption and exploitation of the earth’s resources. It is the aim of these youth to encourage their peers, from all religions, ethnicities and cultures, to take up the challenge of re-creating their inner and outer environments. When people have the courage to ‘think’ differently’, ‘see’ differently and ‘behave’ differently that will empower everyone to build new social structures and unearth a promising future.

Just as food, water and shelter are considered to be necessities for the basic survival of the human body, we propose that the recognition and experience of our intrinsic state of dignity is equally important for the survival of the human spirit. Personal dignity is a state of being. It cannot be fully taken away from an individual so long as she or he continues to maintain it internally. Dignity is a value that includes self-respect and respect for others. The values of courage, determination, self confidence and self efficacy emerge from this state of dignity. In building personal capacity amongst young people, we can directly impact how youth see themselves, perceive others and relate with those around them. It is possible for youth to shift out of the mode of being passive recipients or dependants and this in turn would affect how they participate in eradicating social ills such as poverty. If young men and women recognize their own self-worth and dignity, they would feel empowered to actively claim their rights to the dignity of receiving an income. Regardless of the limitations imposed by the current economic climate and job market, we can utilize the transformative power of our innate dignity to generate an honest income. Although it may be a challenge, the scope for honest income generation can be explored with a variety of “out of the box” and creative pursuits. This will promote economic and social growth that is sustainable and will have a great impact on bringing real change in people’s lives.

Spotlight Values has developed a 3 step process called Explore, Express, and Exchange to engage youth on these values. Through Green Café’s, which are a relaxing, sociable and inviting space for youth to come together in, youth will be encouraged to be themselves, reflect on the values based on their own personal experience and express themselves openly. Using this process, young people will show how the values of simplicity and dignity can lead to new kinds of actions that benefit their lives and their communities. We believe that bringing together the world’s youth and young adults to collectively explore these values can have a lasting impact on the future of our world. By promoting the reflection of the value of simplicity the project aims to support conventional environmental policies and the Green movement by creating a deeper understanding of how leading a simpler life can have an impact on the environment. By promoting the reflection of the value of dignity, SV aims to support current socio economic initiatives by giving people a positive experience and empowering choices by helping them to rediscover their self worth and a sense of purpose in life.

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