5 Dec 2012

African Youths at the Change-Course-Conference in Winterthur


The world’s and indeed Africa’s state is challenging - the volatile economic climate continues to define the environment in which we work - the planetary ecosystems continue to fail - hundreds of millions of young people will look for jobs in the coming decade - and we are well aware. It is only humans who can change course and save humanity. Yet, we (youth) have seen a plethora of failed attempts to solve our world’s climate crises, and frankly, the status-quo is not promising for us, and the future generation.

The last decade has witnessed an unprecedented failure of bold leadership and convergence of crises on a global scale – from economic and financial crises, to acute water shortages, energy crisis, food crisis, and youth unemployment. This age has been coined the ‘Anthropocene’ by an increasing number of scientists, meaning that human actions have become the main driver of global environmental change. The adverse effects of climate change on our planet have become greater in degree than ever. All these militate against sustainable development, but it’s quite interesting though that never before have we had access to vast amounts of information, knowledge and ideas that can help tackle these crises.

Clearly, achieving “the better future we want” requires greater presence of youth in the whole process of decision-making which affects our future, both in the national and international spheres. Thus, efforts to remedy our planet’s woes must be made locally, as well as internationally – given that the youth have the potency to advance the well-being of the entire human race. We are the inheritors of today’s failure of bold leadership; we are climate advocates of the present and of the future, hence we must exercise our rights – amplify our voices and act as true partners in building smart, sustainable and inclusive future for ourselves and the future generations. If we don’t speak up, no one will know that we are essential for the long-term sustainability of our planet.

In recognition of the power and role of youth, the Club of Rome, a global think-tank specializing in sustainable solutions for our planet, marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic with the launch of its “Change the Course” campaign to get young and committed people to brainstorm on how to change the course of history for a more sustainable society. From December 8th to 11th 2012, the Club of Rome will host 60 dedicated and creative young activists from all around globe at its groundbreaking Change-Course-Conference in Winterthur, Canton of Zürich, Switzerland. Through a public event and a series of all-day workshops, as well as in the context of the 40th anniversary of “Limits to Growth“, participants will have the opportunity to exchange their views, to discuss the future of their generations and the challenges humanity will face in the near future, and to find common ground underneath their many initiatives, approaches and ideas. The outcomes of the workshop will be integrated into a joint Club of Rome and W.I.R.E. (Web for Interdisciplinary Research & Expertise) publication.

Furthermore, the conference will focus on questions concerning the expected future, the need to change and the analysis of the possibilities and prospects for change. This will not use the usual ‘old’ concepts which try to tackle certain aspects of the overall problem because well intentioned approaches to make changes within the existing structures have, so far, only met with little success. Instead the conference will take a systemic view that looks at the causes of future problems. Through the Change-Course-Conference, the Club of Rome will create a permanent platform to share and exchange ideas and thoughts in the debate on the objectives and nature of a desired future. And as part of a campaign that will follow the conference, the Club of Rome will highlight the demands and insights of participants and take concrete action to grasp and widely communicate measures towards a better, inclusive future.

It’s time to change the course of history, from the fossil fuel-driven world economy of the past decades, to a Green Economy, Green Growth and Development. Unfortunately, we are beginning to bear the brunt of today’s inaction and it will be severer for future generations. Changing course will save posterity the pain of living in a world of immense injustices, inequalities, and imbalances.

“It wasn't until we were in the lifeboat and rowing away, it wasn't until then I realized that ship's going to sink.” – Eva Hart, Titanic survivor

Humanity must change course now, so that our Green Habitat will not scorch before our very eyes, just like the Titanic. The wrecking of the Titanic is a manifestation of the power of nature over man-made techs. It will be very delusional for anyone to think or believe that technology alone will fix our planet’s crises – climate change, financial crisis and resource shortages.

“The voyage of the ultimate ‘Ship of fools’: the Titanic, offers many parallels to the current calls for humanity to change course and to get away from the “business as usual” path. Despite numerous iceberg warnings the Titanic’s captain and crew failed to take proper precautions, such as changing course or speed.” – Club of Rome


Click here for full details about the Change Course Conference. By Samuel Duru