Who out there has ever heard of The Anthropocene? I’m one of many young people who hold deep concerns about what the future of our world is going to look like and I’d personally argue that not enough people have heard the term.

The Anthropocene was coined by a group of leading scientists who found overwhelming evidence that we’re living in an era where human beings are the driving force of change on the planet and climate change is an example of this (finding that hard to believe? Check out the research here: http://anthropocene.info/index.php).

Personally, the concept of the Anthropocene is both kind of terrifying and also super exciting. Terrifying because of all the pollution and environmental destruction our collective activities have had on the Earth and exciting because the Anthropocene implies collectively we are capable of creating the future that we want!

Don’t believe me? Here’s some of the good news:

  • Since 1990 an average of 47 million people have escaped living under extreme poverty.

  • Since 2006 we’ve shrunk the ozone hole by 3.9 million square kms, it could be healed up by 2050!  

  • In 2016 Italy recognised same-sex marriage, leaving Australia as the only large Western country to not recognise gay marriage (do it already?!?!).

Now, it seems to me there are two imperatives to ensure that we can provide current and future generations with the best version of the Anthropocene that we can create. Firstly, like all good students we have to start as soon as possible. We cannot leave writing this future up until the last minute. There’s a lot more at stake here than good grades people! And secondly, we need to write this thing collectively. Everyone has a stake in taking action here.

It doesn’t matter where you’re from, if you lean left or right, it doesn’t matter who you love or how much you earn. Everyone needs a seat at this table peeps. We need to collaborate and collectively build a fairer future for all. If we can tick these two boxes, I’d say we’re off to a bloody good start!

We need strong, cooperative and accountable leadership to navigate towards a safe climate future. Right now, our government wants to give $1 billion dollars to help a mining billionaire Adani start construction on what will be the biggest coal mine in the southern hemisphere. This is not what leadership should look like in the Anthropocene and stopping Adani’s dangerous coal mine from going ahead has to be the first page we write in order to protect our future.

We can still avoid the worst impacts of climate change but we need political leaders to stand up and do the right thing. Political leaders don’t all hang out in Parliament house either; they can be found on the streets, in schools and in universities right across the world. If you’re a young person who thinks that the Anthropocene can mean opportunity, hope and maybe even prosperity then you’re the type of leader our world needs. You should sign up to volunteer with the AYCC and take action in your local community. Together we can do this. Let’s hack the future!