Experiments towards changing our story

TEDxYouthDay is a series of TEDx events happening all around the world coinciding with Universal Children’s Day. This year, from November 19th – 21st, over 100 events took place in nearly 50 countries under the common theme “Play, Learn, Build & Share”. Around 100 people, young and old, came together at the Zoological Society of London last Sunday afternoon to be inspired and explore ideas around intergenerational justice in relation to climate change, sustainability, democracy, law, and economics.

The afternoon started with a speech given by Halina Ward as the fictional character Septima Tulisa – this name was chosen by her parents hoping that their child was the 7th billion person born. Septima had travelled through time from 2050 as the Minister for Future Generations and her speech provided a good framing and the reported “march of the 5 million” gave a powerful image of possible future developments.

As Hungary’s Parliamentary Commissioner for Future Generations, Dr Sándor Fülöp holds a unique political position which can be seen as precursor to Septima. He argued that our societies and government institutions are not suited to serve the interests and needs of future generations and presented the prospect of widely embedding so-called Future Generations Organisations (FGOs) into institutional arrangements which will be discussed at the upcoming RIO+20 meeting.

Kate Hampton stated that well-connected urban youth holds the key to intergenerational justice, and also highlighted the Future Quotient report recently published by Volans and JWT. It introduces a new concept – the Future Quotient, or FQ – which measures individuals’ and organisations’ ability to think and act along intergenerational timescales. The report outlines key dimensions of high-FQ leadership and also shows 50 examples likely to show high Future Quotients.

James Thornton  talked about his “experiment to change our story, i.e. the programme running in our minds”, which is the Declaration of Young People’s Rights to a Healthy Planet, which you can read and sign here.

“Ideas are like toothbrushes: everybody has and wants one, nobody wants to use somebody else’s” – Kyra Choucroun used this metaphor to demonstrate the need to overcome the “tooth-brush effect” in order to be able to collaboratively create innovation that will change the world. In addition, she urges individuals as well as organisations to embrace failure and to ask the right questions, which will allow us to change our “story”. This is particularly important in the current economic climate characterised by the unquestioned pursuit of economic growth.

I was definitely inspired by this TEDxYouthDay event, and most likely many others at events around the world were too.

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