John Higgs: Are Generation Z our only hope for the future?
If you think the future looks bleak, you’re not alone, but the next generation might have just the mentality we need for a rosier outlook on life.
If you grew up on a steady stream of Hollywood blockbusters filled with killer robots, alien invasions and apocalyptic natural disasters, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the future looks pretty bleak. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be that way.
In fact, according John Higgs, a writer who specialises in finding previously unsuspected narratives hidden in obscure corners of our history and culture, the group of adults of school-leaving age might be just the sort of individuals we need if we’re going to avoid the dystopian future science fiction would have us believe inevitable.
In his book, The Future Starts Here (£20, Orion), he explains why this Generation Z have inherited a world apparently on the brink of self-destruction, and why their enthusiasm for wider social networks will be key to a brighter future.
He speaks to BBC Science Focus Online editor Alexander McNamara about what Star Trek can teach us about generational attitudes, the desire for meaning over stuff, and why life on Mars would be rubbish.
We now have more than 75 episodes of the Science Focus Podcast, each of which is still well worth a listen. Here are a few that you might find interesting:
- How can we save our planet? – Sir David Attenborough
- There is no Plan B for planet Earth – Lord Martin Rees
- What we got wrong about pandas and teenagers
- What does a world with an ageing population look like? – Sarah Harper
- Can we really predict when doomsday will happen? – William Poundstone
- Is body positivity the answer to body image issues? – Phillippa Diedrichs