THE FUTURE IS OURS

New campaign backed by youth activists, Nobel Laureates, award-winning actors and CEOs call for millennials to be ‘at the table’ when carbon emission caps are set

Those backing the project include: Frank Wilczek, Jose Ramos-Horta, Paul Polman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Stuart McClure, Oscar Isaac, Sigurlína Ingvarsdóttir, Victoria Barrett, Parag Khanna, Xavier Niel, Idriss Aberkane, Olov Amelin, Tim O’Reilly, Felix Marquardt

Those with the biggest stake in our future need to be represented at the table of negotiations says new campaign The Future Is Ours calling for symbolic country representing global youth to take part in future climate change talks.

With the crucial climate change talks at COP22 in Marrakesh drawing to a close today, a high profile group of youth activists, Nobel Laureates, award-winning actors and CEOs including Frank Wilczek, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics; Jose Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate & former President of Timore Leste, Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, Natalie Samarasinghe, Executive Director of the UN Association UK, actor Kristin Scott Thomas, Golden Globe winner Oscar Isaac, Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir, Senior Producer, Star Wars Battlefront, Victoria Barrett, high school student currently suing the US Government for ignoring climate change, Parag Khanna, Senior Fellow at Lee Kuan Yew School and author, Connectography, Xavier Niel, founder of school 42 for coders, Idriss Aberkane, entrepreneur & academic, and Felix Marquardt founder of think tank Youthonomics, have backed new campaign The Future Is Ours calling for the younger generation to be included in vital decisions on future carbon emission caps.

“Data from Nasa released earlier this year revealed that the global surface temperatures across land and ocean in February were 1.35 degree Celsius warmer than any times since 1951,” says Victoria Barrett. “Now is the time to think creatively about the way forward. This year’s major climate change conference, COP22 is an important opportunity and many political and business leaders as well as representatives of civil society seem eager to engage – but it is not enough.”

Whilst decision makers are gathering at COP22, The Future Is Ours proposes a decision is taken to let a new symbolic country take part in subsequent COPs to represent those under 30 worldwide, just as refugees were finally, deservedly allowed to compete under their own banner in the Rio Olympics. A mix of scientists, entrepreneurs, activists, heads of NGOs and politicians would form the delegation. This “country” could have the rights and responsibilities that come with the turf, and play a commensurate role in debates and negotiations.

Felix Marquardt, founder of think tank Youthonomics, says, “The Future Is Ours recognises young people are ready for a global system where democracy remains a guiding principle, but where a symbolic country like the one we have proposed that represents global youth, could join nation states in making vital decisions at future COPs. Like the characters in the Star Wars series, this generation does not care so much about country of birth or the colour of your skin but in shared values and vision. The future is theirs and it is incumbent upon us all to ensure their voices are heard. So now it’s time to give #StarWarsGen a real seat at the table at all future climate change talks.”

Frank Wilczek, American theoretical physicist, mathematician and a Nobel Laureate says, “with the global system of governance heavily reliant on territorial nation-states who inevitably represent their own national interest, who is representing humanity as a whole?”.

Stuart McClure, President and CEO, Cylance, adds, “Current decision makers will be dead in 30 years and must recognise under 30s have a special right and role in representing in mankind’s interest in our collective future. They need to be at the table, not on the sidelines, for discussions on carbon emissions caps that will affect their future. The future is ours. All of ours. Starting next year, let’s give millennials an actual seat at the table of negotiations of our annual Conference of Parties.”

Full list of signatories:

  • Frank Wilczek, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics
  • José Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate & former President of Timor Leste
  • Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever
  • Natalie Samarasinghe, Executive Director for the UN Association UK
  • Kristin Scott Thomas, actor
  • Stuart McClure, founder, President & CEO of Cylance
  • Oscar Isaac, Golden Globe winning actor starring in Star Wars – The Force Awakens
  • Sigurlína Ingvarsdóttir, Senior Producer, Star Wars Battlefront
  • Victoria Barrett, high school student suing the US Government for ignoring climate change
  • Parag Khanna, Senior Fellow at Lee Kuan Yew School and author, Connectography
  • Xavier Niel, founder of school 42 for coders
  • Idriss Aberkane, entrepreneur & academic
  • Felix Marquardt, founder of think tank Youthonomics and President of Cylance International
  • Camille Eddy, NASA Microgravity Undergraduate
  • Kazi Ateea, high school student & climate education activist
  • Jan Philipp Albrecht, spokesperson for Justice & Home Affairs of the Greens in the European Parliament
  • Emmanuelle Duez, founder of the Boson Project
  • Claire Nouvian, founder of Bloom
  • Olov Amelin, director of the Nobel Museum in Stockholm
  • Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media