The Future is not Adult
Since the future is beyond the horizon of those ruling the present, it can eventually not be governed by powers presently in place. However good intentions of present adults are, their thinking, disposition, interests and considerations are not of the future. Our capacity to govern the future is limited as we are not able to radically cure, either in ourselves or others, that narrowness of soul which makes us prefer the present to the remote (Hume, 1739). What we define as causes of unsustainability occurs as we grow up, harden, make a living through careers, create, enter and uphold systems with values of their own.
Our youngsters is the only “We” we have - Youth can unite and bind us as it presents our most magnificent common value. As it was already written: “I speak of the life of a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers but borrowed from his children; who has undertaken to cherish it and do it no damage, not because he is duty-bound, but because he loves the world and loves his children” (W. Berry & Meatyard, 1991).
Youth doesn't 'have' a Future
The saying ‘Youth has the future’ is no longer valid given what previous and present generations have caused and forsaken to do; Youth no longer has the future, they are.
Instead of reasoning from uncertainly, the future can be looked in the eye and reasoned with, not about, comprising future society in its own design.
Youngsters can be regarded as initially good, have no reason to not live sustainable lives and might even be equipped by nature with the qualities needed thereto, respecting children as ‘gentle’ and indispensable to involve if we seek long-term societal changes. Thereto we should take a positive vision of the future (Eckersley, 2002) and distance ourselves from negative images. Instead of problematic visions drenched in despair, ESD can be a beacon of hope and a means of progress.
This means we should no longer see youth merely as subjects and actors in the present but as owners and factors of the future.