Knowing when to close the screen

People are in digital jailIt isn’t just kids that are getting addicted to screens. We are encouraged (and expected) to use our iPads, phones and TVs. It’s hard for people to understand how curiosity leads to wasted potential. There is always one more webpage to look at, one more tweet to send, and one more TV series to binge watch. People don’t get bored now, so they don’t know when to close the screen and actually do something. Here’s to people getting out into community, experiencing life eye to eye, and helping to make a difference.

Click here to read the New York Post article “Digital heroin”.


Growing Pains as we wrap up the Era of Business-is-King

Here in London, Ontario there was a long (2 month) labour strike, as members of CUPE Local 101 struggled to resist the City managers’ attempts to micro-manage and excessively control their work, benefits and promotions. (

It is sad and frustrating to see the City managers being such bullies, and trying to grab more and more control from their employees. They don’t yet understand that the business-is-king era is coming to a close, and that community and shared participation are coming into focus. While money is important, people and quality of life need to be shown as being more important.

Here in London we are seeing how wrong things go when managers try to take excessive control and employees try to stand up for quality of life. Even here are old-school managers still trying to keep employees under their thumbs instead of opening their hands to cooperation and shared efforts. They are dinosaurs – hoping to be even bigger dinosaurs, and don’t want to recognize that the meteors of social change are impacting people around the world.

While the strike was finally settled, the mayor (Matt Brown) and the city councilors were silent during the strike, supposedly to not interfere with how the strike was resolved. But in actuality, the people of London need these municipal leaders (many of them fresh to city hall) to be vocal in encouraging city decisions to value hard-working people and to talk-up the importance of community.

As a side-note, Mayor Brown is great about appearing at community events and looks very chipper and friendly in photos (Mr Brown is in red, from his Facebook page). Sorry, that is no longer sufficient, and I hope that the mayor and councilors do some real soul-searching and reading about the economic inequality ruining lives.

Strike-wise, the City of London did finally rescind their demand that the employees work on Sunday, which they could not prove was needed. But the inside workers still accepted working 6 days a week, and getting a pittance of a raise.

It was sad to see how, right here in our our city, managers continue to overstep what is reasonable in this new era.

Even worse, many Londoners voiced the “we suffer so they should suffer too” mantra, saying that the inside workers had it better than they did so they shouldn’t complain about being treated poorly. That type of race-for-the-bottom mindset is terrible and sad to hear, and it plays right into the hands of big corporations who are increasing their wealth thanks to increased productivity, even as they cut wages and convert full-time work into temp work without benefits. 

How are we going to make the world better for people if we aren’t working together, respecting shared goals and community?

Be a Neep – Change the world

People throughout history have changed the world, and we can do it again, together. 

Let’s be the ones who move our world from being money-focused back to being people-focused.
Let’s be the ones who challenge decisions that benefit only the wealthy and the powerful.
Let’s be the ones who live by a simple but powerful motto: People matter most.

Be a Neep — Change the world. 

[Return to the home page of]

Live well not wealthy

 In times of challenge, people rediscover what is truly important.

Decades of marketing had us thinking we wanted stuff, we wanted wealth, we wanted it all.

What we’re rediscovering is that, at its core, life is about people.

When people work together, share community and respect each other, we all do better.

There will always be people who are wealthier, but if they’re smart or encouraged, they’ll remember each day that their success is built on the efforts and strength of regular folks — hard working people. So they’ll share too, and use their positions to help the world, not just themselves.

The prosperity and legacy of every person, wealthy or not, is interwoven with those around them.

Let’s be the ones who look and see those really needing help.
Let’s be the ones that share their time, skills and appreciation.
Let’s be the ones historians point to and say:

“This is when we figured out that people matter most.”


Live well not wealthy

A poem by Rob Hueniken, 2012-Aug-04 

We’re on our way, to spend some time
with friends and family.

We’re sharing life and being part
of our community.

We may not have every single thing
but we laugh and dance and talk and sing.

We’d rather share than hoard and boast.
We know that people matter most.

I’m sitting here, on leather seats.
I have a cushioned ride.

I like that I have more than most.
It is my source of pride.

I know my Mom thinks I’m a jerk
for putting people out of work.

But it makes me rich. It’s what I do.
Could I really live like you?

Live well, not wealthy.

[Return to the home page of]

Continuing on to the New World

There was a lot of excitement and promise when settlers first arrived in the New World. There was room to grow and opportunities for all. A lot of hard work has been done and good progress made. But after an encouraging start we’ve gotten bogged down by allowing our lives to drift from the main thing: people.

Society and happiness have always had people at their core. The value and strengths of people enrich our days and power our communities and industries. It’s a truth that fuels our optimism and builds our shared achievements.

As our technology and businesses advanced we came to know prosperity, health and meaningful employment. In the Near Golden Age, in the 1950s through the 1970s, people, business and government worked together to raise the standard of living and to move forward on important civil rights. Regular folks prospered and had good and achievable hopes for the future.

But along the way, the folks who valued money above people grew unsatisfied with merely owning luxurious yachts and homes. They learned how to use their wealth in aggressive and effective ways, to push our society and world ever further away from a focus on people.  Their wealth gave them power over laws, advertising and business strategies, and led us all into the current quagmire of poverty, joblessness and doubt about our future.

Left unchanged and unchallenged, our current path would bring us lower lows and harder struggles were it not for one amazing and unstoppable thing: people.

People, not money, are the way out, and the rightful beneficiaries of our combined efforts, time and creativity.

While there’s a vital role for money, business and the financial sector, they need to be the servants, not the masters, of people and society.

We need to reset the balance of our time and efforts, to swing it back to its natural focus on people.

Many people believe that the cause of poverty is a lack of money. Sort of. The real cause of poverty is a lack of caring and sharing, for people and between people. At the top end this lack of caring and sharing is called #extremegreed, but there is hope even for them – people can be re-awakened to the joy of community, contributing and shared responsibility. People who care make different decisions.

Had ruthless market traders cared more about people than money they would never have sold toxic stocks and hurt millions of people. If successful corporations cared more about people then they’d find new ways to share the wealth and employ people in good and meaningful ways. If governments weren’t so fearful they would show they care about people by standing up for them in the face of power and greed and attempts to expand control over people. And if we weren’t all being encouraged to buy stuff and watch TV we’d spend more time in community, sharing life, experiencing joy and building bonds of real value.

The change we need doesn’t take rocket scientists, MBAs or a corporate board — it is something that each of us can help with everyday, in every town, in every nation.

Person by person we’ll create bubbles of care and respect. Bubble by bubble we enrich our relationships, make new decisions and make our lives better.

This includes how businesses are run, cities manage their goals, and communities evolve their relationships.

As more people participate, the bubbles will grow and merge. More and more people will see the benefits of caring more about people. The positive changes will increase in scope, from personal effects to community choices to business changes to state-wide decisions to a world-changing focus on what matters most: people.

Let’s show those around us that people matter, and that quality of life for people needs to be part of decision-making.

Today we can make a difference. Today we are continuing on to the new world.

[Return to the home page of]

What NeoPeopleism is and is not

Here are some things that NeoPeopleism IS and IS NOT.

NeoPeopleism is NOT a religion, a political ideology or a form of socialism. You can be of any religion, political party or economic system and be part of NeoPeopleism. It can exist within capitalism — just not the winner-take-all form of capitalism currently practised.

NeoPeopleism IS the affirmation that cooperation and community are at the centre of humanity’s strengths and successes, and always have been. It is based on the timeless fact that people matter most — all people.

Two characteristics that NeoPeopleists often show are their caring and intentionality. We are all witnesses to positive changes when we are appreciative, respectful and encouraging of others. The more we do this, the more the world’s focus shifts to what matters to people.

The basis of NeoPeopleism has always existed, and is woven deeply into the fabric of our lives. Even those infatuated with extreme wealth and power know that it is the widespread good will and well-being of regular folks that allows our society to function, and them to have become wealthy.

Many of the world’s struggles are seeing bubbles of NeoPeopleist activity, as people rail against whatever and whoever is resisting the focus being on people. This includes the rising discontent with political parties, the Occupy Movement, tuition demonstrations, and Black Lives Matter. NeoPeopleism is needed and active wherever people are second class citizens, suffering beneath the interests of money and power. NeoPeopleism is needed in all scenarios of injustice, violence and poverty.

In North America, hard-working people are being denied good jobs, yet encouraged to live a money-focused, debt-inducing life style. As with other versions of inequality and injustice, people will tolerate this for a while, then find ways to set things right.

Various forms of fear, politics and social control keep people from actively pursuing improved living conditions. Most recently, people have been kept distracted by big screen TVs and cell phones — both of which are terrific for entertainment and communication. But even excellent tech cannot mask the growing divide in wealth and the loss of focus on people.

Our current winner-take-all economy is at odds with people’s natural sense of fairness, cooperation and human dignity. So it’s time for NeoPeopleism to rev up.

It’s time to get back to focusing on people.

[Return to the home page of]

Something’s not right here – The List

Life in the 21st century has a lot of really good things. There’s been health advances, new music and art, and amazing technology. There are powerful ways for people to share and communicate, from Facebook to Pinterest to Skype. On paper it sounds pretty good. On screens it looks even better!

But we’re clearly sensing that something’s not right here. There are too many things going on that miss the mark for regular folks, taking us to places that we didn’t expect to end up, both personally and as nations.

For a while we were hoping that if we just kept our heads down it would all sort out, but it hasn’t. There’s been so much wrong stuff happening that it’s getting hard to keep it all straight.

So we’re going to make a list of the stuff that needs fixing.

This list will be a way for us to see a bigger picture, and give us a springboard for action — a place to pick some things that we could see changing, and making better.

Because we want to share the hope that things can be made right for people.

The List: 5 things that aren’t right that affect regular folks

1) Much of politics today is aimed at keeping big businesses happy, and leaving the regular person behind.

There’s a persistent disconnect between the needs of people and our political representatives. We vote but then see the concerns of people left unfulfilled. We’re made to feel that big, important business and multi-national issues need to be sorted out first, over and over. At the end of the day, and the end of the year, it stays the same: there’s not enough focus on people and not enough involvement by people who care.

Our experiments in global economies have veered too far away from local jobs and to global corporations with extreme power, uncontrollable by single countries.

We need new ways and new people to get involved and stand up for regular folks at all levels of governance.

2) There is more wealth and possibility than ever, but most of it is tied up in the hands of just a few.

Wealthy people used to invest in new and bigger companies that employed people. Now they multiply their money in hedge funds without regular folks ever benefiting. Most people don’t need or want a limo, but we all want to be part of the main money loop again.

If people had good jobs and a future, do you think there’d be as much social and economic angst? The smaller the piece of pie the more fighting and stress we have. Any financial system that creates billionaires and poverty at the same time needs to be fixed.

We need better ways for regular folks to prosper.

3) Our lifestyle is causing problems in our lives

When we’re told hundreds of times a day what we should buy, wear and eat it’s no wonder we join in. It’s great having lots of shopping and entertainment choices, but we are under constant pressure to buy things and watch things. We’re in an endless cycle of replacing things that still work and hearing opinion that pretends to be fact.

We are manipulated by social media, which pretends to be connecting people, but whose guiding purpose is to capture our attention and sell our information and lives to advertisers. Social media is now the leading distributor of non-truths, conspiracy theories, and division.

The resulting pressure, confusion and conflict is hard on people,  families and businesses.

We need to dial back on shopping and social media, use truth-focused news sources, and get outside more often.

4) Things we need and use every day aren’t getting fixed.

Cities cut services and say they have no way to make the needed improvements. Chunks fall from bridges, parks turn to weeds, and too many folks can’t get even basic health care. Even though there is more wealth than there’s ever been, it doesn’t find its way to things that are the backbone of daily life.

Administrations talk about giant infrastructure projects, and how those could give many people jobs, but “Infrastructure Week” never arrives.

We need fresh thinking about how to fund and provide the things that people count on and could participate in.

5) We use a lot of our time being entertained, not doing things.

There was an old saying: “Religion is the opium of the masses” Now it’s “Entertainment is the opium of the masses”. Screens and marketing keep us distracted, and inactive — convinced that we don’t have the time or need to change things.

Our society has a wealth of knowledge and potential, but we don’t do much with it. It’s tough to hear, but we spend a lot more time watching screens and snacking than we do helping our neighbors and getting good things done.

We each have ways to help each other more, and to make a real difference.

We need to do stuff, not just watch stuff.


So that’s The List.

You can probably think of many things that make our society a tough place. Guesses are a lot of them are in one of these five categories, but there could be more!

The first good news is that  it’s not just a few people who think things are going the wrong direction. You’re in good company!

The second good news is that everything in this list can be set right with people getting involved, focusing more on people, and playing more active roles in our communities.

Hey, we need a list for that too! 🙂 

[Return to the home page of]