Barbara Hubbard and Xiutezcatl Martinez, speakers at Byron's end of the world festival, Uplift.
About a thousand people are gathering in Byron Bay the weekend before Christmas, expecting the fulfillment of the Mayan prophecy that the world as we know it will end late on Friday.
Or maybe not.
In the words of a high-profile attendee, American self-help author Barbara Marx Hubbard: ‘‘The Mayan calendar has said something is coming to an end, but what will be born?’’
Such a gentle interpretation of the Mayan prophecy does not suit all tastes.
For those with a more apocalyptic bent, the world is supposed to be wiped out by either a natural disaster or a collision with another planet, called Niburu.
The 13th and final period of roughly 400 years known as a baktun in the 5,125-year Maya Long Calendar finishes on the summer solstice of December 21, 2012.
In Australian Eastern Daylight time, the universe supposedly switches its lights out at 10.11pm on Friday.
Hubbard is attending the festival called Uplift along with the clown doctor of movie fame, Patch Adams, and a winner of the 2009 Goi Peace Award, Bruce Lipton.
In an interview with Fairfax Media, Ms Hubbard chooses to view apocalypse in its derivation from a Greek word meaning uncovering, revelation or a lifting of the veil.
‘‘I have learned that crisis precedes transformation,’’ the 82-year-old, who was a vice presidential candidate for the Democrats in 1984, said.
Hubbard, and those like her, hope that the lifted veil reveals the need to treat our world and ourselves with greater care, arguing for a ‘‘consciousness revolution’’.
At just 12-years-old, Xuihtezcatl [pronounced Shoo-tes-cot] Martinez from Boulder, Colarado and known for a youth program called Earth Guardians campaigning for global sustainability, agrees and says the forecast apocalypse is the perfect time to take action.
Xuihtezcatl, who will also speak in Byron Bay, spoke at the United Nations Rio+20 conference on climate change, earlier this year. The Rio+20 summit "was actually a disaster," he said. "Leaders from around the world came together to politically solve climate change which didn’t work at all. They couldn’t come to any decisions and they were all greedy…
"But, the really inspiring part was we met so many kids from all around the planet who were doing stuff in their communities just like us…it was like ’wow, I’m not alone’."