‘There is nothing more difficult and dangerous; or more doubtful of success, than an attempt to introduce a new order of things.’ – Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
When I was young, I remember there was a walnut tree down a laneway near our house, and on the weekends, we would regularly go there to pick bags and bags of walnuts, which we would then sell or eat for a snack. We would ride our bikes everywhere and play games around the neighbourhood with the other kids our age. Without sounding cliché, things really were simple.
As a contrast, society now offers a conglomerate of activities for students at all times. Schools run programs which are truly spectacular and the opportunities on offer reach all ends of the globe. In my previous school, one of our exchange programs in Canada offered a dog sleighing camp for their students. What a remarkable experience! From as early as Prep, students are rushed off to dancing class, karate, sports training, choir, and list goes on. Many students are busy until well after 6pm, developing skills in myriad areas. We are also experiencing an exponential surge and size of social media and students have never had more access and exposure to electronic devices.
The busyness of a student’s life in 2022 is no less fulfilling or fun than when I was young. Sometimes we do need to encourage our young people to take a break and get outside, but the fact is that things change and society will continue to evolve. At some point in the future, what we’re seeing today will become unrecognisable and a fanciful notion of simpler times to reminisce on.
But not all change is out of our control. There are things we can take ownership of now and changes we can make that will guide the direction of societal change and ensure a better future for everyone.
This week, the World Meteorological Organization published a concerning article stating that the last eight years have consistently been the warmest on record. The rate of sea level rise has doubled since 1993. But I also read an article on Germany’s energy consumption, which reported that renewable energy has overtaken coal as Germany’s main energy source. With the target of 85% of all energy to be renewable by 2050 on track, Germany is an example of a country with one of the largest GDPs to curb pollution and create a cleaner and more sustainable environment.
The necessity of reducing carbon emissions is currently bringing an exciting phase on inventiveness and change. Our Principal recently stated from his studies abroad that it takes 4000 ideas to create two magical concepts that can change the world. Carey’s student Environmental Group are not sitting around waiting for these magical concepts to arise. They are coming up with great, actionable ideas every term, and maybe this team will be able to think of and create the solution that tackles our current and future generations’ biggest issue.
The question is not whether change will occur, but rather whether it will come from being reactive to natural disasters, or being proactive in innovation, discovery and creativity. Will it come from social movements, mass media or leadership? Will it come from government policy or from us?
The world is changing, and we can choose to either watch it happen from the sidelines or be a part of it. I am hopeful that by combining causes towards change will lead to a world in which the generations ahead can prosper.
Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Wellbeing