Question box #2
When I think about the future, what I wish... for the world
Photo: Hà Nguyễn
A truly surprising finding is that the greatest wish of young people all over the world is not connected with the environment, but with world peace. A large proportion of their contributions—32%—aspire to a world devoid of armed conflict, discrimination, insecurity, and inequality.
The environment, although it is still paramount, comes second, more particularly in the West, East Asia and the Pacific. However, it is less of a priority in other regions of the world, where human values and virtues come out on top.
The better world to which these young people aspire seems to be characterized by a strengthening of human values, greater equality, and shared happiness—intangible factors that shape their vision of an ideal future.
The idea of peace very much holds center stage, with nearly a third of participants speaking of their ardent desire for world peace. Some emphasize the need to rid the world of war, achieve world harmony, and reduce the amount of violence.
Environmental protection is a predominant topic, mentioned by 21% of participants. They echo a general, collective increase in awareness of the climate emergency, speaking of their wish to live on a healthy planet, released from the twin scourges of climate change and pollution. One way they think this might be achieved is for everyone to be made more aware of the situation so that they can act together to preserve biodiversity.
Participants aspire to a world where respect, solidarity, love, and kindness prevail, values they see as being fundamental to the harmonious coexistence of all inhabitants of the planet.
While the theme of happiness is top of the list in the previous question (“When I think of the future, what I wish for myself”), here it only comes sixth, being mentioned by just 6% of participants but referring to comparable concepts: happiness, joy, hope.
Financial and economic issues are less pronounced than in the previous question: 5% of participants said they would like a fairer economic system and 2% wanted to see economic growth.
Despite these noble, positive aspirations, one can nevertheless sense an underlying feeling of anxiety. They talk about their world being threatened by war, global warming, the lack of tolerance towards other people and other races, insecurity, and economic crises. Many are the contributions that begin with “less…” (discrimination, pollution, etc.), suggesting a reaction against an existing or imminent negative situation.
Overview of the main themes
You will find below a graph in which you can navigate to learn more about the themes brought by the participants. Each theme (also called “cluster”) relates to an idea expressed by participants. There are two types of clusters: macro-clusters, which relate to more general categories, and sub-clusters, which break down the ideas into finer detail and are attached to macro-clusters. The percentages displayed correspond to the number of participants who have written about this theme among all participants who answered the question. For readability, only clusters cited by more than 1% of participants are displayed.
The representation below is dynamic: tap or click on the boxes to see the clusters in detail. You can also use the filters.
Differences between world regions
Regional prisms: a universal longing for peace and a variety of environmental concerns
A hunger for a peaceful world unites the participants from just about every region of the globe, with the notable exception of South Asia, whose participants prioritize the environment—probably influenced by the most recent environmental crises there, including flooding in Bangladesh, landslides in Nepal, extreme heat and cyclones in India, and drought in Pakistan. The desire for peace transcends borders and seems to be establishing itself as a universal aspiration amongst the younger generations. Although such a result might have been expected in Europe in the context of the war between Russia and Ukraine, it is interesting to note that there is a general desire for the cessation of war.
Environmental protection, although it remains a constant concern, varies in importance depending on the region. Europe stands out for paying particular attention to the environment (33%), but it seems to be somewhat less of a concern in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, where it is only mentioned in 15% of contributions.
It is also interesting that some concerns seem to be specific to certain regions. In North America, for example, the importance of basic needs for all comes to the surface, whereas in the Middle East and North Africa, young people emphasize the importance of security.
Tap or click on the boxes to see the clusters in detail. You can also use the filters to compare regions.
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