What if we could inspire young people while transforming education?

Last week we made AimHi history. We launched our Inspiring Guest series, and welcomed writer and environmentalist Rob Hopkins as our first guest. We also time travelled to 2030 with Rob, to check out how the world will change (no biggie). You might be wondering what we discovered… well, contrary to Busted’s experience of the year 3000, we saw that extraordinary transformation had taken place! We’d transitioned to a low carbon society. Animals roamed freely around cities. One student reported that earth had become a massive forest, with all homes now located in the sky. Pretty cool. And what’s even cooler is that it only took a bit of imagination to travel in time (thanks for the tip, Rob).

Imagining the future

Rob believes that imagining a better future is necessary to achieve it. If through writing, illustration, or any other creative medium, we could see a city free from cars, then maybe creating carless cities wouldn’t seem so impossible. A quote from poet Rainer Maria Rilke, ‘the future must enter into you a long time before it happens’, captures this idea perfectly.

Matthew and Rob are on screen, Rob is presenting Illustrations of an imagined future, drawn by James McKay
Rob presents two drawings by James McKay, an illustrator and graphic novelist who draws the future

The future is now

Rob told us that in some places the future has already arrived. His work takes him to villages, towns, and cities around the world where people have achieved incredible things. In Mouans-Sartoux, France, 100% of food in schools is organic, and 70% is grown in a garden on the edge of the town, that’s owned by the local government. One of his most impressive examples was of Liège, a city in Belgium that Rob visited 5 years ago. At the time some citizens had asked a simple ‘what if’ question; ‘What if in a generation’s time, the majority of food eaten in Liège, came from the land close to Liège?’. When he visited last year, 4 years on, he learned that 21 cooperatives had been launched and €5 million investment had been raised from locals to build this imagined future. The city now has its own farm, vineyards, brewery, and multiple supermarkets selling solely local produce. A remarkable example of how an entire city was reimagined and recreated.

Learn about the Liège Food Belt in this snippet from Rob's live

Reflections on imagining a better future