And now, the year that changes everything?

I’m Stefan Lodewyckx, VP Communications at your friendly UN Youth Association from across that Tasman, UN Youth Australia. Aside from managing UN Youth Australia’s branding, communications, and publications (such as the Perspectives Journal of Youth Opinion), I’m not a particularly exciting person. Instead, I’m happy to bite into my pet topic of the month.

With an exciting and full year ahead, we over in Australia look forward to a year of awesomeness where both Australia and New Zealand can get together to make the UN and peer education more accessible to more young people in the region.

But there is a catch — segue to my dramatic headline:

And now, the year that changes everything?

A happy new year to you all! That is, if you make it to the next one. You see, as the calendar clicked over to 2012, you have unwittingly entered the year that will see the destruction of the world as we know it. Numerous sites on the Internet say so, therefore it must be true.

There is a minor issue concerning the apocalyptic end of 2012 — there are so many different variations on the theme! With literally dozens of different theories out there, some doubters among you may even go so far as to question the legitimacy of the impending apocalypse. Scorn!

To that, I simply say this: there are dozens of different ways to make a cake. But in each case, the end result is still a cake (some just aren’t as delicious as those sachet mud cakes you get at the supermarket). In just the same way you pick your favourite cake recipe, I am hopeful that my brief rundown of the most fashionable apocalypse theories will help you pick an end to the world that best suits your dietary requirements:

The Mayan theory

The one that started it all! According to a partially defaced Mayan inscription in southern Mexico, the 13th b’ak’tun of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar will be of particular significance. Converting between calendars, that lands on December 21, 2012. What sort of fun did they predict? The end of the fourth world! Nobody has been entirely sure of what the end of the fourth world may actually involve. Therefore after much conjecture, research, and conspiracy, we have arrived at the hypothesis that this will involve the end of all life in earth. May contain traces of destruction, armageddon, academic disagreement.

 

 

 

The Christian theory

A straight shot of apocalyptic goodness is coming for those who subscribe to this most venerable of theories. Chapter 6 of the Book of Revelation states that the world will be utterly destroyed in a wave of catastrophic devastation when the sixth seal is opened. The Good Book specifies no date, so people have been creative about deciding when it could be. Many have dedicated their creative skills to justifying why 2012 will the year that fury will be unleashed, so brace yourselves if you’re a believer. Mind you, the end of the world was meant to come a couple of times in 2011, so be patient with this one if it doesn’t arrive this year.

 

 

 

The Extended Michio Kaku theory

A dose of Y2K-like apocalypse with a chaser of scientific plausibility. Every eleven years, the sun’s poles flip around in what scientists call the sunspot cycle. In this process, the sun goes a little crazy and emits massive solar flares. Most times this happens, they knock out a satellite or a couple of power stations by overloading electricity grids. Physicists, including the well known science communicator Michio Kaku, suspect that the next sunspot cycle will be particularly severe. Can you guess when this is due to happen? 2012! Look out for disabled satellite communications, decimated e-commerce, destroyed electricity infrastructure, and a scientific community chanting ‘we told you so’.

 

 

 

 

The Stefan Lodewyckx theory

My personal favourite. You will attend a UN Youth NZ (/insert country here) event. And you’ll never look back, because after going, your world will never be the same. Instead, you’ll see a wide open landscape beyond your shores that consists of countries, corporations, organisations, leaders, diplomats, commodities, greed, charity, prosperity, poverty, war, peace, and real people who are affected by them all. If that’s anything to go by, it could be a hard reality to swallow. But at least this one leaves a world that we have the power to understand and interact with. I’m sure that each and every person who reads this blog would rather subscribe to this theory than other theories whose prerogative is for you to twiddle your thumbs while the world changes around you.

 

A brave new world awaits. What are you waiting for?

 

A new year’s resolution?

Happy new year everyone!

All over the world in many cultures, the beginning of a new year signifies a fresh start, and turning over a new leaf.  It is also a time we take stock of the year that has been and a time to spend with those who we value.

It makes sense really – this is when you buy a new calendar and enjoy the holiday break, giving you time to make resolutions and promises to yourself for the coming year.

What was your new year’s resolution?  To spend more time with family? To get better grades? To attend more UN Youth events perhaps???

Rather than making absolute promises, I like to think of new year’s resolutions as an opportunity to highlight areas in my life which I’d like to focus my attention on and to work on.

Rather than setting fixed goals where I succeed or fail, I’ve decided to work on becoming better at time management and not letting the various commitments in my life dictate how I run my life. I’m not going to be any less busier than the year before nor am I going to just ignore my commitments, but I believe it might be possible to mentally manage commitments in a way so that I am able to govern my commitments rather than feeling driven by them.

Is it possible? Will I succeed? I’ll let you know in 2013.

What was yours, or are you basically perfect like Calvin?