Andrew Gaines


I think there is only one thing. Young people will have hope when they see that society as a whole is passionately committed to reversing global warming and other trends (including arms build-up), and successfully transitioning to a life-sustaining society.

How would they know that this commitment exists?

Just as in wartime everyone speaks about the war, so people everywhere would be talking about transitioning to a life-sustaining society. Politicians would affirm this as our goal (rather than economic increase). They would justify policy decisions on the basis of their contribution to the transition to a life-sustaining society. Both NGOs and businesses would frame their work as a contribution to the Great Transition to a life-sustaining society. The media would regularly report on improvements in environmental indicators (while noting how much more we have to do).

The ultimate test of effectiveness

In time, CO2 levels would start to decline and environmental statistics improve. The mass media would report that we are making progress in transitioning to a life-sustaining society. At this point hope would seem realistic.

Ultimately, the test is: are we living within planetary boundaries? Have we evolved a society that takes care of people, communities and the environment? If so, we would have, not a new world order, but simply a new world. It will be much more loving than the world we now experience.

How might we act to make hope realistic for young people?

By masses of us using our influence through our networks to inspire mainstream commitment to transitioning to a life-sustaining society.

Each of us can do this through our own initiative. There is no need to join – or form – a massive organisation. Seeing what is needed, can just get on with the job.

It’s time to think big. Although none of our networks are huge in absolute terms, when we add up the combined reach of our friends, social networks, NGOs, businesses with a stake in sustainability – and their networks, our reach is enormous. Aligned, we can achieve far more than we ever could acting separately.