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Fate of a better future lies in our actions

XPRIZE has launched a call for ‘future-positive Ideas’ asking people for their big ideas for a ‘potential XPRIZE competition in one of five domains: Biodiversity & Conservation, Climate & Energy, Health, Learning & Society, or Space & Exploration’.

Those meeting the criteria ‘may be the basis for a more in-depth competition design’ XPRIZE says, ahead of the 17 April deadline for submissions. Go to the call website for more.

Towards a positive future

And to get your creative juices flowing listen to what some of the leaders at COP27 told me when I asked them what was making them optimistic about the future.

“We have so much evidence that if we succeed in this transition, a more resilient, secure, peaceful and healthy future” lies ahead, Professor Johan Rockström said when I asked him at COP27 in Sharm-el-Sheikh if he had #ACopHalfFull sense of optimism about the future.

Alongside Paula Maultasch, the creative executive producer of the Inside Ideas podcast, we were in Egypt on a mission to generate some excitement about the future, by speaking with some of the people shaping it.

Professor Rockström, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, has written or contributed to some of the most important and influential books ever written on climate, including the ‘The Human Quest: Prospering within Planetary Boundaries’; and most recently: ‘Earth for All: A Survival Guide for Humanity‘. He said the “science is razor sharp” and that “1.5 °C is a physical point we do not want to go beyond” so we must “do everything we can to decarbonise.”

As well as the extensive evidence showing that a just transition to a resilient future is possible, the internationally renowned scientist also saw other signs of momentum at COP27. “Is there any light in the tunnel to fill up that glass slightly? Well of course, a hundred heads of state came to Sharm el-Sheikh, a COP meeting where we had very low expectations: that is a sign of momentum. We also have a sign of momentum in the business sector being continuously constructive. And we have very powerful voices from civil society.”

For these reasons, Professor Rockström says we must all “hold on to the light in the tunnel” but also appreciate the “window is shutting”.

What Professor Rockström and many others were telling us is we can have both sides of the coin here: optimism and realism, it’s not a zero-sum game. And it was a message we heard time and again at COP27.

Dr Gunhild A. Stordalen, founder of the international nonprofit, EAT Forum, summed up the general mood well using Barack Obama’s famous line, Yes We Can, when she said: Yes We Can create a better world. And it appeared that two factors were fuelling this renewed sense of optimism: people power and scalable innovations.

But what COP27 told us is that a bright future is still very much up for grabs, we just have to act fast to secure it. As the Chinese proverb goes: the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.

Watch our roundup video from Sharm-el-Sheikh – and check out #ACopHalfFull on social media – for more on a future we can all get inspired by.

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Written By

Marc is Editor-at-Large for Innovators Magazine and host of INSIDE IDEAS, his OnePoint5Media video podcast show. Marc is a member of the World Economic Forum Expert Network, Resilient Futurist, and award-winning Global Food Reformist.


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