In this article, we challenge the notion that complex and resilient problems – such as global warming and poverty – will have to be resolved by governments or responsible corporations. Instead, we argue for the potency of social initiatives promoted by communities of engaged people. A variety of experiences from around the world, and especially from Brazilians with their “Why not?” temperament, suggest characteristics of the origin, development, and diffusion of these initiatives. We conclude that social initiatives, by addressing local problems of a global nature, using networks connected across communities, may be the greatest hope for this troubled world.
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