To continue yesterday’s article on 2008 being the Year of Getting Real, here are the four other major world upheavals predicted to happen this year by a select group of marketers, activists and cultural anthropologists.
Green will be the color of the year. This is quite evident already in many of the malls where you can see displays in the cool radiant glow of this color of nature.
This is probably because of the all too pervasive effects worldwide of global warming – as brought to our consciousness by Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore, the former US presidential candidate who starred in the riveting docu “An Inconvenient Truth.”
This year, the issue of global warming will affect people to such an extent that they will think of ways to contribute to the survival of our planet, says Zem Joaquin, editor in chief of ecofabulous.com, a blog aimed at showing that style and eco-consciousness can blend together.
“What started as a reactionary movement – you know, ‘Poor polar bears, but what can I really do?’ – will really turn into something more personal next year,” says Joaquin.
“It’ll be about picking out what matters to you and pursuing that,” she says. “For me, it’s about material choices (in furnishings) and indoor air quality. But the cause will be different for each one of us, and that’s OK.”
For those who don’t give too much weight on the problem of global warming, well, good news: Go ahead, ignore the signs. Anyway, concerned people in the bizworld will do the green conservation stuffs for you.
In the United States, for instance, Wal-Mart is pushing their suppliers to reduce the packaging used with their products, Joaquin says. “So it’ll be even easier to go green.”
The magnitude of the various problems affecting people from all over the world will cause them to combine their efforts to push their political and business leaders to do more to help them.
According to Hans Eisenbeis, senior editor at Iconoculture, a consumer trends research company based in Minneapolis, we should expect to see more examples of “people banding together to help each other out.”
“Consumers are saying ‘reality bites,’ and they want elected officials as well as corporate chiefs to step up and help find some solutions,” he says, a significant shift away from “the do-it-yourself, less-government-is-better-government attitude of past years.”
“There’s a ‘we’re all in it together’ feeling out there that’s only going to grow as more people get affected by issues such as housing and health care,” Eisenbeis says. “People are going to lean on each other and push those in power to find the necessary solutions.”
As such, in order not to be left out of the action, perhaps this is the year when we should join a cause-oriented group of our liking.
Return to manners
People this year will realize that, oh yes, it’s good to act like civilized humans and not the brutes that they used to be.
That’s the prediction of Peter Post, great-grandson of etiquette maven Emily and lead presenter of the Emily Post Institute’s Business Etiquette seminars.
There will be a return to manners, he says.
“Etiquette used to mean rules for rules’ sake, and that’s not what we’re talking about here,” Post says. “What’s really at issue is a civility that helps take the stress out of our daily lives. It’s about using etiquette as a tool to achieve pleasant personal and professional relationships, which in turn will only help with our overall lives.”
Post says he doesn’t expect people to share their bread to every stranger they meet. But he says people will be more considerate and not allow petty quarrels to turn into a raging conflict.
He says the need for etiquette would be appreciated by more people in the world. He says people will realize that “our lives will be more pleasant by being nice.”
Accepting the situation
The new year will see more people responding to the problems affecting their respective nations as they conquer their fear of bad news, according to anthropologist Robbie Blinkoff.
He says people will “reconnect to the grid” and find out what they’re really meant to do inside that grid. “The first step is accepting the situation at hand, to know that you can’t know what will happen, and be OK with that,” he says.
Blinkoff says people will come to a state of “radical acceptance.”
“What’s great about the term ‘radical acceptance’ is that it implies, rightly, that we don’t have any choice but to confront the reality of our lives,” Blinkoff says. “So maybe you can’t personally stop a war. But you can help a neighbor in need. And hopefully that will ripple.”
Shedding off inhibitions
As people become nicer, more civilized, more friendly this year, they will also get rid of personal inhibitions and become nicer to themselves as well.
According to Faith Popcorn, founder of BrainReserve marketing consultancy, people will shed off their guilt feelings and indulge in the various pleasures available in their community.
“We just can’t take all this bad news, so to some degree you start to understand the ‘let’s fiddle while Rome is burning’ attitude, which will only increase,” Popcorn says. “People will be eating more red meat, drinking, smoking.”
So we should expect more partying, more trips to the rehab, more controversies not only from showbiz figures like Paris Hilton or Linday Lohan or Britney Spears but also from ordinary mortals like us.
Popcorn says escapist behavior is spreading worldwide as evidenced by the popularity of “Second Life,” the Web site where online players take on alter egos, even marrying other online players they hardly know in person.
“People feel like, ‘I can’t keep track of the terrorists or save the planet, so the heck with it, I’m going to have fun,’” she says.
“But the big repentance will come,” she predicts. But not this year. Maybe in 2009. But that’s another year, and another topic to write about here in Froodee.