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  • Writer's pictureRichard Plumpton | ii |

Getting Ready for the 21st Century's Third Decade.

Burmese Classroom

[Image: Burmese School | © United Nations.]

It's hard to believe that we're just 10 months away from the third decade of the 21st Century.

That we're about to move on from a decade that will likely be remembered for humankind's collective failure to take meaningful action on climate change. A decade ending with the uncertainty of Brexit and instability of Trump. A decade that saw continued terrorism, war, habitat destruction and increased 'greed of the few'. Not a decade that humans should look back on with too much pride.

Yet it was also a decade when money at lest started to be invested in renewables and green tech in significant quantities. When a new ethos of 'purpose–driven business' and social enterprise became more mainstream than ever before. When technology started to point towards a cleaner and more prosperous future.

Yes, all these positive shifts have happened too slowly for those, like me, who have an impatience to see change happen at a much more rapid pace. But they are happening and, beneath the natural bias towards negativity and sensationalism that exist within the world's media (both old and new), the stories of hope continue to come.

In spite of these burgeoning signs of hope, I still see a future that is anything but bright for my two kids. One that brings increasing social, economic and environmental pressures to bear on virtually every part of the planet. One that will see more frequent natural disasters and greater pressures on human communities and societal structures. All against a background of increasing population, decreasing access to natural resources and an accelerating decrease in natural biodiversity.

So what can we do?

Well I, for one, will continue to focus on where I believe my skills can have the most impact. Working to help strengthen organisations who are trying to find solutions to the challenges ahead and build resilience into as many communities as possible. My work supporting organisations who are focused on helping deliver the UN's Sustainable Development Goals is a key part of this, but so is my work helping to build organisations' capacity to drive change in the decade ahead.

If the 2010s have passed by frighteningly quickly, the 2020s are likely to move faster still. As we face up to this reality, each of us needs to keep finding ways to do all we can to try to accelerate humankind's shift away from the status quo and towards a prosperous, equitable and carbon neutral world. To make sure as many of the individual choices we make and actions we take are moving ourselves and our communities towards this possible world as possible.

Time was already short in 2009 – it's even shorter now. If we are to build a global society that's at least in some fit state to pass on to our kids and grandkids, the next decade really is starting to feel like our last chance to make it happen...

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