The voices of youth in envisioning positive futures for nature and people

Rana, Sakshi ; Avila-Garcia, Daniela ; Dib, Viviane ; Familia, Lemuel ; Gerhardinger, Leopoldo Cavaleri ; Martin, Emma ; Martins, Paula Isla ; Pompeu, Joao ; Selomane, Odirilwe ; Tauli, Josefa Isabel ; Tran, Diem H. T. ; Valle, Mireia ; Von Below, Jonathan ; Pereira, Laura M. (2020)

CITATION: Rana, S. et al. 2020. The voices of youth in envisioning positive futures for nature and people. Ecosystems and People, 16(1):326–344, doi:10.1080/26395916.2020.1821095.

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The unpredictable Anthropocene poses the challenge of imagining a radically different, equitable and sustainable world. Looking 100 years ahead is not easy, and especially as millennials, it appears quite bleak. This paper is the outcome of a visioning exercise carried out in a 2-day workshop, attended by 33 young early career professionals under the auspices of IPBES. The process used Nature Futures Framework in an adapted visioning method from the Seeds of Good Anthropocene project. Four groups envisioned more desirable future worlds; where humanity has organised itself, the economy, politics and technology, to achieve improved nature-human well-being. The four visions had differing conceptualisations of this future. However, there were interesting commonalities in their leverage points for transformative change, including an emphasis on community, fundamentally different economic systems based on sharing and technological solutions to foster sustainability and human-nature connectedness. Debates included questioning the possibility of maintaining local biocultural diversity with increased connectivity globally and the prominence of technology for sustainability outcomes. These visions are the first step towards a wider galvanisation of youth visions for a brighter future, which is often missing in the arena where it can be taken seriously, to trigger more transformative pathways towards meeting global goals.

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