Question box #4
When I think about the future, what worries me... for the world
Photo: Ali Rizvi
When they imagine what the future of the world will be, nearly a third of the youth express deep-seated concerns about environmental problems, geopolitical tensions, and economic problems. Their thoughts convey an acute awareness of current issues, and reveal their anxiety concerning their own ability to do anything to avert these crises. Their concern even goes as far as to resemble genuine fear, engendered by a chaotic vision of the future of our planet.
When they look at what the future holds, the youth of the world reveal a maturity that shows in the gravity of their concerns. Nearly 40% of these young citizens of the world see environmental issues as their main cause for concern. Climate change, far from being a simple meteorological inconvenience, is seen as the detonator of a chain of major crises: destruction of biodiversity, rising sea levels, increased frequency of natural disasters, economic collapse owing to the depletion of natural resources, massive climate-driven migration, and, the sum of all these woes, an escalation in inequality, violence, and insecurity.
For 20% of young people, in second place comes their apprehension when confronted with the constant shadow of wars and conflicts that hangs over the future. This is no irrational fear: they are afraid of the devastating repercussions that the latest weapons might have, particularly the world’s nuclear arsenal. This fear echoes the hunger for peace and stability discussed in question 2 of the consultation.
The economic situation is a worry for 17% of participants. The critics of capitalism, of whom there appear to be many, criticize an economic model that they consider to be both unsustainable and the cause of overconsumption and materialism, thereby engendering environmental and social degradation. Moreover, they bring to the fore such immediate concerns as the increasing cost of living, the lack of job opportunities, and the threat posed by technological progress in the job market.
A fifth of participants highlighted key societal and political challenges. They are worried about the upsurge in crime and brutality, the increase in discrimination, particularly towards women and minorities such as LGBTQI+, and the growing sense of insecurity. Regarding politics, extremism is gaining ground and both politicians and decision-makers are regarded with growing distrust, their reputation besmirched by accusations of corruption, greed, and self-interest.
Lastly, it is worth noting that 3% of participants foresee a dark, even apocalyptic, future and fear a total collapse of our world, illustrated by destruction, chaos, and catastrophe. This pessimistic view, despite being held by a minority, should make us think: it reflects a deep-seated disenchantment and a feeling of helplessness in the face of major challenges.
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
The environment, of universal concern
Environmental concerns transcend borders and echo in the minds of young people worldwide. In every region, the environment is a core concern for our future leaders, with the exception of the Middle East and North Africa, where geopolitical tensions are felt more keenly.
Each region, however, has its particularities. The young people of North America, Europe and Central Asia are particularly concerned about political challenges, especially issues like governance, transparency, and representativeness in democracies. On the other hand, poor human behavior is a theme that often comes up in contributions from young people in Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia, where they talk of a crying need for humanity and solidarity to help build a better future.
Tap or click on the boxes to see the clusters in detail. You can also use the filters to compare regions.
Some remarquable answers from the entire world
Interviews from all over the world
See other questions
See other questions