With each issue of YES! we aim to bring you news of progress toward building a just, sustainable, and compassionate world. It's an ambitious effort that we couldn't hope to accomplish without the help of visionaries and leaders, including many of you, who are involved in doing this work in all areas of society.
We invited a group of these people from the various networks we work with to meet with us this May in Port Townsend, not far from Bainbridge Island, Washington, where YES! is published.
Our premise in calling the meeting is that we are reaching the limits of the modern, industrial age. Every institution of society – from education, to health care, to business, to government, to the family – is in a state of crisis or transition. But there are also signs of something new emerging – new values, new ways of relating to each other, new ways of life – that draw on ancient wisdom as well as the useful innovations of the modern era.
This "something new" is what we explore with each issue of YES! There is no one organization or leader, no blueprint or manifesto that lays out the direction for all this change. Instead, this shift is composed of the thousands of innovations taking place all over the world as people begin to take responsibility for their ecosystems, to rebuild community, to explore the inner dimensions of change.
It's a creative and diverse mix of activities that make up this change, and yet these efforts do seem to come together. There are certain implicit values, conscious ways of relating to each other, assumptions about the intrinsic value of all life – human and nonhuman. YES! explores these commonalities, looking for signs that the foundations of a sustainable society are being built through these wide-ranging efforts.
We originally planned our Port Townsend gathering with the simple expectation that it would help us deepen this exploration for YES!But the purpose grew to a broader one, including these questions:
• Is there a way that this work of many different people, innovations, and enterprises could add up to more than the sum of the parts?
• Are there breakthrough possibilities for transformative change that we haven't yet considered?
• Is there a single organizing principle that might tie all this work together?
In the report on this gathering, on page 60, you'll find as many questions as well as answers; we hope both will be useful in your own consideration of our common future.
Sarah Ruth van Gelder