There is a very disturbing story in the Swedish news yesterday - seven of ten children here between the ages of 11 and 15 are very worried about the future.
There is a very disturbing story in the Swedish news today (in 2012). One that pops out at you. Seven of ten children here between the ages of 11 and 15 are very worried about the future. Their futures. According to a survey by insurance company Trygg-Hansa, climate change frightens them – especially animal extinction. One in four even thinks the Earth will collapse.
It stands to reason that this troubling harbinger of anxiety among children will only spread as more and more storms and less and less water are experienced and reported on around the world.
It's been said many times by many people that the measure of society, indeed of civilization, is how it treats the weakest, the poorest and above all, its children.
Well folks, our children are scared. For good reasons. And we all know why. Kids are pretty clever at feeling the pulse of their surroundings, peers, parents, the world in the news. They soak it up. But they can do little about it, except to hound us into recycling, driving less, buying eco-foods. Aren't kids irritating when it comes to their future? But that's their job. They remind us of our responsibilities. Are we doing right by our children? Does society measure up?
In some ways their fear is an important motivation for the Tällberg Forum 2012. For years we have looked straight into our heap of problems, asking questions that do not yield ready made answers. But the deeper we looked into the bad news, the more we sensed the emergence of hard to believe, even impossible to imagine, good news!
Tough problems compel human genius to create solutions precisely because they must be created. Because life on Earth demands that grown-ups provide their kids with the stuff that feeds their dreams not their nightmares. That's why we meet this year.
The Friday evening conversation will grapple with this recurrent moment in civilization: "Seamless evolution: learning from a history of creativity and facing our fear of apocalypse".
Even in today's bad news, there is – yes – some good news. In spite of their fears, more children are hopeful about the future than their parents are. You might think this naive of kids, but they also have a knack to tap into something else: hope. And that's their job, too. They remind us grown-ups to nourish that hope for the future. Otherwise, how on Earth could we live with ourselves?
Join us at the Tällberg Forum 2012
for a journey that goes "beyond our imagination" — also known as your children's future.James Wine
Senior Advisor and part of the Tällberg Forum Team