Young people embrace the future. With a hands-on mentality.

Entire libraries and video shops have been filled with fantasies about the future. Meanwhile, we circumnavigate the globe in 40 hours, instead of Jules Verne’s 80 days. We no longer find the Big Brother-type situations against which George Orwell warned us surprising. And Star Trek’s Gene Roddenberry must be spinning in his grave when he hears that “space” is no longer “the final frontier”. A mere 200,000 dollars will buy us a trip to space in the near future.

Even though science and technology have achieved more than our forefathers ever dared to hope for, there is a great deal of pessimism about what is in store for us. Many people preferred to look back rather than forward during the past decade. Man has always been interested in his own past, but we seem to have become obsessed with this past ever since it has been brought within a few mouse clicks from us. Retro conquered one sector after another. We see that this is at a turning point. Young people are embracing the future, in contrast to older generations.

Young people set to work by honouring the slogan “the best way to predict the future, is to create it”. They are searching for solutions with both feet on the ground and with a sense of responsibility. Web 2.0 and all that it entails has empowered young people incredibly. Social networking sites, blogs, wikis and video sharing sites have given young people the tools to school themselves and to build up something from scratch. They can make a difference with a good idea, the right contacts and minimum funding. They are not striving to make as much profit as possible in their enterprise but rather, to develop a product that is meaningful to society and to lay cornerstones for the future.

Nobody is alone in the fight for a better future. Young people gather with people from all over the world to discuss the challenges, both on line and off line. Think tanks and discussion forums are created, not just for hardcore do-gooders, but also for artists, entrepreneurs, scientists and housewives who all want to do their bit in their own way. Subjects range from new-world and new-age philosophies to tips for daily life. There are no leaders, no big ideals or answers - only the power of the group.

One of the Millennials’ main concerns is how they are going to live with less. They realise that the model of a linear growth economy is not sustainable and they set out to look for alternatives. ‘Life cycle thinking’ is gradually gaining ground. Young people are de-materialising, making do with less, in all sorts of ways. They are making creative use of low-cost technologies, swapping and sharing expensive purchases. Millennials are more aware and save in terms of their own values. They rent a house together with oth- ers or live at home with their parents, buy many things second-hand and swap objects with friends, they don’t own a car, but they do have a laptop and a smartphone, they travel when they can and stay with friends they met on the Internet or with strangers.