As we always do this time of year in NZ we look back and honour past wartime sacrifices, and reflect on how they have shaped the national mindset and identity. That’s important to do, but it seems that as a country we spend a lot of time in reflection and too little looking forward.
Well, you may say, the world is changing so quickly that it’s not much use looking ahead. That’s a weak excuse. As Louis Pasteur may have said “fortune favours the prepared mind”
An important part of foresight is recognizing, in Sohail Inayatullah’s six pillars framework , the “weight of the past”.
But another key aspect is the “pull of the future” – what are our dreams and aspirations. New Zealand’s not been great at that.
Sure, some goals have been laid out. Carbon neutral by 2050. And Predator free 2050. Those are starts of sorts, but those are specific goals, ends to other means, not what society we want. They are notable for their rarity too.
Earlier this year in Wellington an event called Optimistic Futures also explored a few perspectives on a future New Zealand. Good for inspiring, but what next?
As I indicated in my previous post. more detailed explorations of the future if done well are becoming increasingly valuable.
What we need in New Zealand is not just an aspiration or direction, but momentum too. Not just talk (or writing) but action. We need to have broader discussions about desired futures (local, regional, and/or national), how to get there, and commitments to work towards them.
Lest we forget, many have fought and fallen for our future. We show our respect by thinking ahead as well as back.
New Zealand in 2065
To do my little bit I’m going to be focussing more in the future on 2065. That’s 150 years since the first ANZAC day. It is critical that we consider not just what could New Zealand be like then, but what we want it to be like, and want we need to do to achieve it.