A letter from Future Generations University president, Dan’l Taylor, on his vision for what comes after COVID-19.
By Daniel C. Taylor
For our futures, an opportunity is before us. It is easy to overlook it amid the crises in our lives–but those crises have opened a door to better futures. We can seize the opportunity to generate more lasting futures that are also more just.
You and I cannot stop COVID-19 and climate change, but we can use them to change our ways. Future Generations University teaches how. The Future Generations Global Network shows the impact from our actions. It is happening, as I write, in communities by people like you and me. The lesson from the threats of COVID and climate are clear: our individual actions help us AND they are more powerful when we act together.
Individuals have agency. We make decisions and chart courses of action. But we’re constrained by systems in which we operate: by patterns of consumption and capitalism; by entrenched racism and white supremacy; by inequality. The pandemic has exposed chasms these systems have wrought, slums where people are physically unable to socially distance and underappreciated workers who are compelled to prop up an economy at the risk of their health.
If systems are failing and individuals are suffering, hope lies in community responses. Our choice, revealed by COVID-19 but made manifest by climate change, is what comes next: are we, as individuals, to be further atomized and victimized, or will we act as communities for a more just and lasting future?
A new future is coming and, with it, opportunities for humanity and for Future Generations. Teaching how to generate reliable futures with lower risk is what Future Generations University does; the seven national organizations and alumni in 41 countries demonstrate that the SEED-SCALE method works.
At Future Generations, community is defined as “a group that shares something in common and has the potential to act together.” You have joined this community that is learning and acting with rising knowledge and strength to harness human energies and shape a more equitable and sustainable path.
That is the reason we have formed this community: to spread knowledge that enlivens human energies. Knowledge is wonderful. The more it is used in a scholarly way, the deeper and wider it grows. It is shared. This is not true when money is the mechanism of change in communities. But the last months have shown that when actions are driven by informed knowledge and fitted to locales, problems abate, prosperity begins poking up.
As challenges rise, so too must we rise to meet them. With a 30-year history of working in and with communities to own their future, we are rising to these challenges, supporting community led action.
Here are stories of that process. Behind these reports, you will find ways that you too can participate.
I look forward to hearing from you with your questions or your support to join.