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  • Transcriber: TED Translators Admin Reviewer: Rhonda Jacobs

  • It's time for humankind to recognize a disturbing truth:

  • we have colonized the future.

  • In wealthy countries, especially,

  • we treat it like a distant colonial outpost

  • where we can freely dump ecological damage

  • and technological risk as if there was nobody there.

  • The tragedy is that tomorrow's generations aren't here

  • to challenge this pillaging of their inheritance.

  • They can't leap in front of the king's horse like a suffragette

  • or stage a sit-in like a civil rights activist

  • or go on a Salt March to defy their colonial oppressors like Mahatma Gandhi.

  • They're granted no political rights or representation;

  • they have no influence in the marketplace.

  • The great silent majority of future generations

  • is rendered powerless.

  • It could be hard to grasp the scale of this injustice,

  • so look at it this way:

  • There are 7.7 billion people alive today.

  • That's just a tiny fraction of the estimated 100 billion people

  • who have lived and died over the past 50,000 years.

  • But both of these are vastly outnumbered by the nearly seven trillion people

  • who will be born over the next 50,000 years,

  • assuming current birth rates stabilize.

  • In the next two centuries alone, tens of billions of people will be born,

  • amongst them, all your grandchildren,

  • and their grandchildren

  • and the friends and communities on whom they'll depend.

  • How will all these future generations look back on us

  • and the legacy we're leaving for them?

  • We've clearly inherited extraordinary legacies

  • from our common ancestors:

  • the gift of the agricultural revolution,

  • medical discoveries and the cities we still live in.

  • But we've certainly inherited destructive legacies too.

  • Legacies of slavery and colonialism and racism

  • creating deep inequities that must now be repaired.

  • Legacies of economies

  • that are structurally addicted to fossil fuels

  • and endless growth that must now be transformed.

  • So how can we become the good ancestors that future generations deserve?

  • Well, over the past decade,

  • a global movement has started to emerge

  • of people committed to decolonizing the future

  • and extending our time horizons towards a longer now.

  • This movement is still fragmented and as yet has no name.

  • I think of its pioneers as time rebels.

  • They can be found at work in Japan's visionary Future Design movement,

  • which aims to overcome the short-term cycles that dominate politics

  • by drawing on the principle of seventh generation decision making

  • practiced by many Native Americans communities.

  • Future Design gathers together residents

  • to draw up and discuss plans for the towns and cities where they live.

  • Half the group are told they're residents from the present day.

  • The other half are given ceremonial robes to wear

  • and told to imagine themselves as residents from the year 2060.

  • Well, it turns out that the residents from 2060

  • systematically advocate far more transformative city plans,

  • from healthcare investments to climate change action.

  • And this innovative form of future citizens assembly

  • is now spreading throughout Japan

  • from small towns like Yahaba to major cities like Kyoto.

  • What if Future Design was adopted by towns and cities worldwide

  • to revitalize democratic decision making

  • and extend their vision far beyond the now?

  • Now, time rebels have also taken to courts of law

  • to secure the rights of future people.

  • The organization Our Children's Trust

  • has filed a landmark case against the US Government

  • on behalf of 21 young people

  • campaigning for the legal right to a safe climate and healthy atmosphere

  • for both current and future generations.

  • Their David versus Goliath struggle

  • has already inspired groundbreaking lawsuits worldwide

  • from Colombia and Pakistan to Uganda and the Netherlands.

  • And this wave of activism is growing alongside the movement

  • to grant legal personhood to nature,

  • from the Whanganui River in Aotearoa, New Zealand

  • to the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers in India.

  • Time rebels are taking action at the ballot box too.

  • In 2019, teenagers across Europe

  • began lobbying their parents and grandparents

  • to give them their votes in the European parliamentary elections of that year.

  • The hashtag #givethekidsyourvote went viral on social media

  • and was spread by climate campaigners as far as Australia.

  • My partner and I heard about it

  • and decided to give our votes in the last UK general election

  • to our 11-year-old twins.

  • So we all sat around the kitchen table and debated the party manifestos,

  • and they then each told us where to put the X on the ballot sheet.

  • And in case you're wondering,

  • no, they didn't simply mirror their parents' political opinions.

  • So the time rebellion has begun.

  • The rebels are rising to decolonize the future

  • founding a global movement for long-term thinking

  • and intergenerational justice

  • that may turn out to be

  • one of the most powerful political movements of this century.

  • They're helping us escape the short-term cycles

  • that digital distraction and consumer culture trap us in,

  • with the lure of the Buy Now button

  • and 24/7 news.

  • They inspire us to extend our time horizons

  • from seconds and minutes to decades and far beyond.

  • The artist Katie Paterson's project, Future Library,

  • will be a century in the making.

  • Every year, a famous writer donates a book

  • which will remain completely unread until 2114

  • when the whole collection will be printed on paper

  • made from a forest of trees planted for this very purpose.

  • The Svalbard Global Seed Vault sets its vision even further,

  • housing millions of seeds

  • in an indestructible rock bunker in the Arctic Circle

  • that's designed to last 1,000 years.

  • But how can we really think and plan on the scale of millennia?

  • Well, the answer is perhaps the ultimate secret to being a time rebel,

  • and it comes from the biomimicry designer Janine Benyus,

  • who suggests we learn from nature's 3.8 billion years of evolution.

  • How is it that other species have learned to survive and thrive

  • for 10,000 generations or more?

  • Well, it's by taking care of the place that would take care of their offspring,

  • by living within the ecosystem in which they're embedded,

  • by knowing not to foul the nest,

  • which is what humans have been doing with devastating effects

  • at an ever-increasing pace and scale over the past century.

  • So a profound starting point for time rebels everywhere

  • is to focus not simply on lengthening time

  • but on regenerating place.

  • We must restore and repair and care for the planetary home

  • that will take care of our offspring.

  • For our children,

  • and our children's children,

  • and all those yet to come,

  • we must fall in love with rivers and mountains,

  • with ice sheets and savannas,

  • and reconnect with the long and life-giving cycles of nature.

  • Let us all become time rebels

  • and be inspired by the beautiful Mohawk blessing

  • spoken when a child is born:

  • "Thank you, Earth.

  • You know the way."

Transcriber: TED Translators Admin Reviewer: Rhonda Jacobs

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/23
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