Written by: John Perkins, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Echoing applause reverberates from a crowd gathered in a once-bankrupt industrial center, now transformed into a vibrant center for music, art, and world-changing discussions. The silence of the ancient Mayan pyramids, reclaimed by nature, offers lessons about the dangers of unchecked consumption. Nestled deep in the rainforest, an Amazonian tribe provides a model for sustainable living. These diverse stories are threaded together by an urgent, global call to redefine our perceptions of success and wealth. They remind us of the importance of our environment and the powerful change that individual and collective action can bring.
I’ve just returned from the Czech Republic where I was a speaker at the Meltingpot that is part of the Colours of Ostrava music festival. Attended by more than fifty thousand people, the venue is an impressive example of the ways creative people can transform the Death Economy into a Life Economy.
Once known as the “Heart of Soviet Steel,” the city of Ostrava was built around a steel mill sitting atop a coal mine. When the mine exhausted its coal, the entire complex closed in the 1990s. It was a harbinger of what the whole world is currently experiencing – an economic system that in the short run is depleting the resources necessary for its long-term survival. But in Ostrava, rather than succumbing to the Death Economy, the people changed their perceptions about economic development. They banded together to develop a magnificent venue where music, the other arts, and inspiring ideas can be shared by thousands of people. They converted the old mining and manufacturing structures into state-of-the-art auditoriums and performance centers. They created a vibrant Life Economy.
Something very different happened in the ancient Mayan cities of Central America.
Every January I take a small group to Tikal and other Mayan sites. We learn from and do ceremonies with Mayan teachers, elders, and shamans. They tell us that the massive pyramids and impressive temples – the entire urbanized and highly evolved culture – disappeared because the Maya did to themselves what we are doing to ourselves today. Power-hungry kings demanded bigger pyramids and larger cities. The forests were cut. The swamps were drained and paved over. As a result, the rains stopped. The wells went dry. Crops failed. Cities fought each other over declining resources. It was a classic case of a Death Economy. The people abandoned the cities around 800 AD and retreated into the forests and up to the mountains where their offspring live today. The once-magnificent cities were reclaimed by the jungle – not to be rediscovered until the 1800s.
“The catastrophe of my ancestors is a warning for us today,” Julio Tot, a Mayan tata (a spiritual teacher and guardian of traditions) cautioned our group in January 2023. “We all need to change.”
Every year I take a group to the Achuar nation in the Ecuadorian rainforest. Known as the Sacred Headwaters of the Amazon, their homeland is considered the most biodiverse land on earth. The Achuar are an example of a culture that perceives itself as a part of – as opposed to apart from – nature. That perception results in activities that enhance life and do not deplete the resources future generations will need. Like our ancestors for some two-hundred thousand years, the Achuar enjoy a Life Economy.
“People don’t need to live in thatched-roof houses like us,” Taish, an Achuar shaman, says, “but we all need to honor the limits of nature.”
Ostrava and the Achuar are examples of creative communities that embrace perceptions which result in Life Economies. The ancient Maya cast a light on where we will go if we don’t listen to the messages of climate change and alter our perceptions of what it means to be successful as humans on a finite planet.
How do we transform a Death Economy that is consuming and polluting itself toward self-destruction into a Life Economy that is sustainable, circular, and creates an Ecological Civilization? That is the most important question of our time. And, despite the skeptics, there are practical solutions.
In my upcoming webinar, Indigenous Wisdom and Proven Practices that Will Change Your Life and Create an Ecological Civilization, I describe the ways perceptions mold reality. The challenge for us today is to change our mind-sets from ones that define success as maximizing short-term materialistic consumption and profits to one that supports life – all life – now and in the future.
We can only do this as communities that are integrated with a global community. However, each of us has a personal role to play. Because of our ability to alter perceptions, we can practice shapeshifting on the individual level that also impacts everyone around us – and the entire planet. Returning from Ostrava and looking forward to once again visiting the Achuar and the Maya this January, I am re-inspired to spread the message of change – joyful change.
This is an invitation for you to join Indigenous Wisdom and Proven Practices that Will Change Your Life and Create an Ecological Civilization. You will be inspired to do that which brings you the greatest satisfaction – and do it in ways that facilitate the transition from a Death Economy to a Life Economy and into an Ecological Civilization. You will overcome blockages that have held you back – or might do so in the future. You will alter your own perceptions about your powers to change yourself and the world. And you will join a community of very special people who realize that they and you were born into this world at this time in history because together we have an essential role to play in human evolution.
The world needs you...
For details about this five-session webinar and trips to the Achuar of the Amazon and Maya of Central America, click here.
John Perkins, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
John Perkins is a former chief economist who advised the World Bank, the United Nations, Fortune 500 corporations, and governments around the world. Now as a sought-after speaker and author of 11 books that have been on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 70 weeks, sold over 2 million copies, and are translated into more than 35 languages, he exposes the world of international intrigue and corruption and the EHM strategy that creates global empires. His latest book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, 3rd Edition – China’s EHM Strategy; Ways to Stop the Global Takeover, continues his revelations, describes China’s highly effective and dangerous modifications to the EHM strategy, and offers a plan for transforming a failing Death Economy into a regenerative, successful Life Economy. Learn more at johnperkins.org/economichitmanbook.