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3 Minutes to Inspire; 4 Years to Change the World

This week, I’m feeling particularly inspired. I’m currently in beautiful North Carolina for a course on Obesity Prevention in Public Health. All week long, I get to eat amazing food (maybe too amazing for an obesity prevention conference ;)), meet interesting people, and learn about how the environment impacts our health and, more importantly, what we can do to change this. Listening to experts and participating in discussions about policy and media strategies that can change  environments to support healthy choices is the kind of stuff I live for! So even though the days are long, the time goes by fast as I try to soak in as much information as my brain can handle.

I’ve only been here for 2 days, but I’ve already been given so much to think and write about. For the moment, I’m just taking it all in and getting inspired to bring these lessons back home with me.

But, believe it or not, that’s not the only reason I’m feeling inspired lately. Today, I actually want to share something completely different. Something beyond the scope of what I normally write about on this blog. But something that moved me so much, I knew I had to pass it along.

A few days ago, a colleague shared with me a video that got me thinking about health in more general terms. It’s easy (for most) to think about our own health and what we can do to improve it. And we can probably talk about improving the health of our family, of our communities, or even our nation. But what about the health of the world? Not only the health of all mankind, but the health of the very earth itself.

Of course in this case, I am speaking of health in the very broadest sense of the word. While it’s clear that we live in a time of many great changes and opportunities, we are also facing some serious, serious problems. Climate change, pollution, hunger, disease, persecution, injustice. The list goes on and on. Looking at all these challenges  and the destructive path that we’re on can be overwhelming. Changing the behavior of one person is hard enough, but changing the behaviors of the entire world?! It’s enough to make you throw up your hands and scream, “I give up!”

But – there’s a new campaign that wants to jolt us out of our helplessness and inaction, and motivate each and every one of us to join together to make this change possible. It’s not run by any one organization, but instead wants to be a collective movement – a goal for every organization, every person.

The movement is called FOUR YEARS. GO. And it’s goals are lofty.

From the website:


A campaign to change the course of history. Really.

It’s time to make a choice. We can let present trends continue and risk almost certain breakdown and collapse.

Or… We can act and set humanity on a new course toward a just, thriving and sustainable world.

The choice is clear. We already possess the tools to shape our future. What’s missing is our collective will to act.

Four years is enough time to build that will, to change our direction, even to transform ourselves. And Go because we must start now.

There is still time to act, but no time to waste.

The purpose of the FOUR YEARS. GO. campaign is to empower individuals and organizations to create goals that will help move us (meaning all of humanity) to a positive tipping point by 2014. A tipping point that will literally send us on a new path for a brighter future.
But don’t rely on my words to find out what it’s all about! I strongly encourage you to take just 3 minutes out of your day to watch this video. Instead of getting overwhelmed by the scope of the problem, get inspired about what we can all do to fix it.

Have you heard of FOUR YEARS. GO.? I’m interested to hear your thoughts about this movement. And, of course, if you were inspired or moved in any way by the video, I strongly encourage you to pass it on. We only have 4 years, after all…

17 Responses to 3 Minutes to Inspire; 4 Years to Change the World

  1. You sound like you have one of the best jobs EVARRR. Traveling to conferences in beautiful places ( I love, love, love NC like no other American state!!!) and learning about stuff that makes you passionate = awesome sauce. My brother is sleeping in the room downstairs so I can’t play the video right now, but tomorrow, I will watch the FOUR YEARS.GO and BE INSPIRED! YAY. Thanks for sharing your insights with us, Lauren :-)

    XOXO Aletheia
    aletheia´s last post ..How Many Fingers am I Holding Up

    • The video is so incredibly empowering and straight to the point. It’s totally amazing to have your perspective broadened to see that it’s not just about individual health, but about the health of the WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD. Crazy…I think four years is still ambitious, but it has to start somewhere, with a group of people who are committed to positive change. :-) YAY.

      xoxo aletheia
      aletheia´s last post ..How Many Fingers am I Holding Up

      • You’re welcome! And yeah, I do think there are parts of my job that are really cool. :) This being one of them!

        Glad you liked the video! I’ve watched it a bunch of times already and I really think everyone should!! Four years is definitely ambitious, but we’ve got to start. If we don’t have a goal in mind, things never get moving.

  2. I have to wait to watch the video until I’m home from work, but it sounds like an awesome movement! I love the spirit of collective action!
    Katie @ Health for the Whole Self´s last post ..Hierarchy of Food Needs

  3. hey girlie!!
    I got my bachelor’s in Public Health from university of washington, and watched this movie many times, it is SUPER inspiring;almost tearful!!
    It sounds like you are having a great time and an awesome convention!! I hope your week continues to be awesome!

    • That’s really cool. Do you know how long ago it started? It was new to me, but I couldn’t tell if the movement had been around for awhile (or at least the beginning of 2010…)

  4. Thank you for bringing this movement to my attention, and for sharing such an inspiration video! I think it’s great to step back and think about how WE can hep around the world, and make the world healthy. Heal the world, and we make ourselves healthy as well :)

    Have a great night, Lauren!

    • That’s a great point! I think it’s important to work on helping ourselves and other individuals become more healthy. But we’ll never have a TRULY healthy population of people until we can create a healthy world.

  5. Yayyy for NC! I live here :)
    And thank you so much for raising awareness about this movement… going to check out the video right now!
    Megan @ The Oatmeal Diaries´s last post ..cookie dough showdown

  6. I hope you’re having an amazing time at the conference. Wish I was there! Public health nerds unite :)

    This video was very, very powerful. I wish everyone could see it and act upon it. I tried to find where they got the 4 year number from but couldn’t. I feel that’s a bit ambitious! But I guess the point is to start making small changes. I’m just a pessimist because I saw how few of the Healthy People 2010 goals were met and those were 10 year goals. But hopefully people like you continue to draw attention to this movement so the message is heard. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Jen´s last post ..Yes- This Runner Eats

    • I couldn’t really figure that out either. I did read something about how they think that’s enough time to make a difference…but there also must be some reasoning behind their choosing 2014 as the time when the world will be going through a crucial tipping point.

      I do agree with your pessimism though…or maybe we’ll just call it cynicism. We did AWFUL on the Healthy People 2010 goals. But, I think the point of the movement is that we need to start taking action NOW. The short time frame really presses the fact that we can’t keep sitting around waiting for change to come. We need to be that change. And if everyone starts taking small steps, maybe we CAN do something great in just a few years. The video makes me believe it’s possible. :)

  7. This was a great video.
    Have a great conference.

  8. Wow, that video was so inspirational. I really do hope people can learn to make the smallest of changes because if everyone does something small, the world really can change. I think its good that the video has a goal time- four years may seem like a small amount of time but the goal of that if for people to start now. Love your blog Lauren!
    lizzy´s last post ..NYC Marathon Training Week 7

    • Thank you! :)

      And I agree…it may seem small at first, but those little steps add up if everyone commits to doing something. The time frame definitely gives the movement a sense of urgency…which will hopefully inspire people into action!

  9. I haven’t heard of this campaign but thanks for bringing attention to it. I know everyone’s heard that our planet is declining and that we’re in trouble but I don’t think people take it too seriously. Just because something might not affect us directly (or in our lifetime) doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try and make it right for the next generation…our kids!
    Danielle (Runs on Green)´s last post ..Versatile Blogger

  10. 1. What a fabulous sounding course! I wish I could go;)
    2. Amazing campaign- I think if anything related to obesity is going to change, it better be pretty lofty. It’s not a new problem, and if we don’t all step it to change it, nothing will happen.
    3. Where in NC are you?! I’m taking a wild guess and saying CH… Isn’t it stinking hot & humid here?! If I HAVE to be injured, I’m glad it’s during the hottest part of the year ;)
    Heather @ Side of Sneakers´s last post ..Chicago By Foot And Picture

  11. Super jealous of your conference. I expect a full update once it’s wrapped. I’ve never heard of Four Years. Go, but am really glad that you were able to learn about this. I think what is important about this is that more people hear the message. The more that people stand behind a cause or initiative, the better the odds of success are. I read some of the comments above and I think that part of the reason that Healthy People 2010 didn’t work is because no one actually knew about it. It wasn’t something that was made very public or advertised in a way that would affect the general population.
    Alex @ IEatAsphalt´s last post ..What’s corn doing in the airport

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