It can take a lot of courage today to stand up for our own vision of the future and what we truly long for; and even more courage to vow to make this happen. For it is too often that, when we express our dreams, ideas and expectations, we are confronted with a world that sees our aspirations as naïve illusions, as unrealistic goals that simply cannot happen. Sometimes, hopes for the future are even seen as a sign of being spoiled, for who has the time anyway to think about these things? One must spend their energy working, connecting, working again, keeping on top of things! No time for silence. No time for questions. No time for thought.
However, it is no longer optional to postpone our thoughts about the future we wish for to a later date. For the youth of today who – as we see in the Friday’s for Future movement – is fully aware of the urgency to think about present actions in service of a sustainable future, certain dreams and ideas are not naiveties, but necessary objectives which are to be realised by all of us, regardless of the generation we belong to. A future for individuals, societies and the Earth that needs to come about if we want to speak of a future at all.
During “Courage”, we collected some of these visions through our research project’s question: what would the world look like in 2030 if what lives within you becomes a reality and what will you do to make it happen?
“The world would be better because we would actually start taking care of both our homes: the earth and our body. We would live a more minimalistic life and more sustainably. I’m trying to live sustainably myself and I’m telling my friends and family about it. We all should start to think about that and we should not stop inspiring each other”.
“I see a world in which each one of us is inspired to do what we are passionate about, and use it in service of others. As we find the courage to do this for ourselves, we allow others to do the same as they too will feel liberated from the pressure and expectations that society puts on us.”
“If what lives inside me is to be realised into the world, the world may become a dark or scary place. I would try and find the light and goodness within myself to prevent the darkness from becoming…”
These anonymous answers and many others evoked a world that prioritises the respect for nature and the human being as a social, natural and spiritual being capable of evolving in freedom. But, how to realise these? Another participant had the answer:
“I am aware of myself and how I affect the world, and I try to improve myself every day.”
At the Youth Section we see it as one of our central tasks to give voice to the wisdom that lives in young people, and to foster the impulses and initiatives that come from this. After hearing the voices of the youth who attended the International Students Conference, I began to wonder, what would happen in the world if all of us took the initiatives that are living in these young people as our own? What if what lives within them became also our reality? What if we accompanied them in their actions to realise that future vision?
How can we ignite a common flame that warms the future that is waiting to arrive through our common human deeds?
In the world of the future…
There is a bit more silence.
We respect nature and are connected to her.
There is more productivity, thanks to renewable energy.
The world has more energy, to give to nature.
We are filled with awe and wonder for living things, respecting them more.
People respect themselves and others more.
Acceptance and appreciation for the other is then the norm.
The human being has changed.
Our consciousness has changed.
There are no wars.
Love is more possible to find.
Our Gifts for the world…
My gift is courage to stand up for what we believe in!
Interest and enthusiasm for understanding life.
For true understanding of how technology and nature could develop together.
I’d give movement and good energy out of my heart.
Peace, empathy, compassion
and the question “who am I?”
I want to give gentleness to our dear world
And the ability to commit, to love and be loved.
For this to happen…
I will tell a person that I love them as they are.
I will learn,
I will think in a positive way.
I will show people how beautiful peace is.
I will look at something or someone who is alive and marvel at the fact that they are here.
I will really look,
I will be open-minded,
ask questions instead of assume.
Verbatim answers from the youth attending Courage, the 2019 International Student’s Conference.
Collected by Andrea de la Cruz