I think it’s important to look to the future in all of my subjects, because that’s really what’s relevant for me as a student and for other students, because the future is what we’re going towards. The future is us, we are the future.
To me, for schools to encourage kids to think about the future, the most important key underlying point is that our children are our future. And what we are doing now, every single person in the world, the way that we’re acting, the way that we carry out our daily lives, our corporate lives, our lives in schools, this all will in a sense create the future. We are creating the future.
One of my favourite sayings about the future is, “Let's look at hope not horror.” Because it’s actually really easy to come up with these sort of dystopian views of this horrendous, dark future that’s ahead of us but I actually don’t believe that. And I think that kids can get very hung up on sort of thinking about world events and thinking the whole world is falling apart - when actually let’s go the other way and look at the wonderful things that are happening to help people in their future.
Just a small example, in Africa we see women walking for miles and miles and miles every day carrying water on their heads. So some people would see a solution to that problem as being - let’s put water pumps into the villages. Well I mean sometimes water is not available in the village, or they don’t provide the technology to fix up the pumps when they break down, all of these things. So somebody just came up with this ingenious little solution of actually putting water carriers with handles on them and making them like barrels so they rolled. So it only takes people half as much time to go and get the water now as it did before. So instead of throwing our hands up in horror and seeing the problem as being the water and they have no access, it’s looking at what technologies can we use to help people.
Kids can be very involved in that in a really creative way. The solutions that they come up with - amazing. Which brings up another thing about future, and learning about the future, is that kids need to understand that some problems that exist in the world that are going to become maybe bigger problems in the future - you can’t tackle the entire problem. What you can do is break that problem down into parts that you can tackle. If you can tackle those parts then you’re likely to impact on the whole problem. That’s really important for kids to feel that they have power in being able to take actions that will work. So if you said, for example, solve the problem of depletion of oceanic species which is another huge global issue, then you know that’s overwhelming, how can we do that? But in actual fact how can we break that down into a whole series of smaller issues that we can work on, that will eventually in the future have a major positive impact in that area.