Search Icon


< Back

5 Minute GAP - Kristina & Natasha talk about positive visions of the future


Head of Post Consumerism Natasha Parker, and Project Officer Kristina Johansen talk about why it is so important for us to have positive visions of a sustainable future that we can reflect on, and the impact on people's wellbeing that the lack of them can create. Natasha and Kristina run our Flickers of the Future programme, which works with talented young artists to picture what the future could look like.



"We Share Freely". The change we want to see in the world is bigger than we are. So, we're sharing our knowledge, resources and ideas to help more people and organisations take steps forward towards our vision of a green and thriving planet, where everyone can enjoy happy and healthy lives within the Earth's limits.


As part of this, we're launching our new "5 Minute GAP" series, a collection of five minute conversations that will share how we work and what we're working on. We'll talk about what we're trying to achieve and why, how we function as an organisation, and the thinking behind our plans and strategy.


We'll be regularly sharing these conversations, which will feature different members of our team and trustee board, as well as external experts.


We hope you enjoy listening in to our chats, getting to know our team and finding out what makes us who we are. 



Audio only version:


If you prefer to read rather than watch, the transcription is here: 


Kristina: When you've got drama and entertainment talking about and portraying these climate issues, I think they do so in a really, really bleak way. So often
you see these scenes of... these kind of dystopian scenes set in these apocalyptic futures where either you know, we haven't done enough, and so it's resulted in the end of mankind or we've had to move to another planet like...

Natasha: Like Wall-E, where we have to like go and live on another planet because we've just, you know, looking back, we've just destroyed it. 

Kristina: We've just destroyed it! Yeah. You know, that's just yeah. 

Natasha: And most of these kind of films...or like, Interstellar is another one where, you know, where we can't grow food anymore because we've destroyed the planet. And again, you know, the solution is "go and live on another planet!" Yeah. And there's just there's nothing that you see where the solution has been "Well, actually, we changed our, you know, our economic system, and we took the action that we needed. And actually, in the end, we came out with
a positive world that we actually want to live in." I don't think I've seen anything that shows that.

Kristina: That that's never the to go to. Like you said, like making those changes and redesign rather than just moving to a whole other planet and starting from scratch, which, you know, is completely unrealistic, just taking in the entire, entire population, you know that's the kind of solution we're offered, rather than just redesigning and kind of bringing in creativity and rethinking how we do things, which is a lot more doable. 

Natasha: It's really just not inspiring hope and it's not inspiring...It's both kind of bad for our mental wellbeing. And particularly for young people. You know, it's no surprise that we're seeing rising levels of eco-anxiety when, you know, they are learning the facts, they're learning about how bad the situation is and they're just not seeing it a) being taken as seriously as we know it is or being offered those kind of hopeful solutions to move towards. And just seeing kind of dystopias. And being told more and more and more just how bad things are that we're seeing in the media. So it's, it's leaving young people particularly feeling very anxious about it and not feeling particularly hopeful. 

And it doesn't lead to action either. And we know from the research that when we don't have that sense of hope that things can get better, we become a bit fatalistic, like, well, what's the point in doing anything because we're screwed anyway. It doesn't lead people to go "Oh, my God, it's so bad, I'm going to have to do something!" It leads people to thinking, "Oh, my God, it's so bad and no, one else is doing anything, so I'm not going to bother either." And so in order to kind of help people take more action, we need to have that sense, we need to see the solutions and we need to be able to say, Well, what are we working towards? And, you know, how can the world be better if we do take the actions as well? And so it just yeah, it's leaving us mentally feeling, you know, anxious and, you know, it's not good for our mental health and and it's not leading towards action either. So, you know, we desperately do need to see more positive visions of, you know, the world we want to move towards. 

Kristina: Definitely. I think I remember reading someone compared it to it's like, you know, ringing the fire alarm but then not showing anyone any fire exits. It's like it's that. Yeah. And I think that was a good way of putting it because like, yeah. Like obviously, you know, it's important not to downplay the problem and, you know, and it is you know, it's important to get that across, but it's yeah, it's coupling it up with these solutions rather than because I think, like you said, it's just leading people to have this massive sense of despair and hopelessness, which, yeah. Isn't like you said, isn't translating into action and engagement, which is what we need or just makes people as well, I think, switch off. 

I think as humans we can only kind of cope with a certain level of like negative news as well. And I think people I think you know, speaking to a lot of people,
it's almost like if I start any kind of conversations, oftentimes it's a bit like, oh, you know, like people know it's awful. But it's easier to kind of just ignore the problem because it's a thought process that, you know, it's such a it's a massive problem. You know, it is. But when you think it's a massive problem
with, you know, no solutions, people just think, okay, it's hopeless, hopeless. Let's just not engage in it and kind of just carry on our lives without any kind of pushing for any other changes. Because that's just I think that's another thing. People kind of ignore it or when they do face it, it can be extremely triggering for eco-anxiety and stuff and bad for wellbeing. So I think what we're doing, you know, the way we're kind of approaching it at the moment without offering those solutions, it's not really working.