Future we want: a global conversation about building a positive future.
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Here are my thoughts about a positive future:
In 2005, as a student in my masters program, I was asked to create a vision of a sustainable future. It was a very empowering experience and I am happy to have the opportunity to do it again, as well as to reflect on how and why it has changed or not.
Six years later, I am now a sustainability consultant in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and I work closely with communities, businesses, universities, NGOs and local governments. The first time I thought about a sustainable future, I focused a lot on integrating green spaces (trees and recreational areas) into cities, looking to highlight a much greater appreciation of the environment. Today however, I would like the future to hold a greater appreciation of people and stronger relationships among people in communities, cities, regions, and countries:
· I would like to see trust & respect regained among neighbours and colleagues so that we can in fact find ways to dialogue constructively, make collaborative decisions and work together.
· I would like to see people genuinely helping each other, not just to gain something for themselves, but to gain something for their community and planet.
· I would like a future that celebrates true human well-being and not just economic status. I would like a future where equality among human beings is the norm.
· I would like a future that cultivates good relationships among stakeholders and allows time to improve inter-cultural understanding.
· I would like to see development efforts that really matter on the ground and don’t just look good on paper.
· I would like to see a closer relationship between donors and beneficiaries. I would like to hear the voices of the beneficiaries, not about the number of people helped. I would like to see beneficiaries of development projects as the first ones to evaluate the results of the project.
· I would like to see us embrace failure and mistakes to learn from them. I would like us to do better the next time around to avoid duplicating efforts and wasting resources.
· I would like to see youth that are inspired and familiar with a sustainable society.
· I would like to see youth more engaged in decisions about their future and their voices respected.
· I would like a future where all voices and perspectives are valued, shared and considered when making decisions that affect different stakeholders and the integrity of our environment.
· I would like a future where we are able to put ourselves in the shoes of others and understand where they are coming from.
This is what i wrote and the first thing that came to my head when i finished writing was that I really need to get to know my neighbours. And this thought is really key. The important thing is that what we want for our future doesn’t just stay on paper, but that we create ways to really achieve our visions, that we make the necessary changes to our daily lives. This is the true challenge. Creating a vision of the future is only the first step towards real change. The bigger questions come next: What needs to be done to reach that future? What change is really feasible in the short, medium and long-term? What does it depend on? What are the constraints and how can they be resolved? How does my vision affect others and how does theirs affect mine? This is what a futures conversation should look like!
What do you want for the future?