In January, I had the pleasure and privilege of becoming a resource speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos. I participated in the event as an opening keynote speaker for “Primary Futures” in Davos Platz Primary School. The event gave the children a chance to meet international role models and World Economic Forum delegates. They got to learn more about careers and sustainable development.
In my keynote, I tried to explain to children the importance of sustainable development and financial literacy. I shared with the children the rate at which the world is changing and growing.
The Importance of Sustainable Development
By 2050, there will almost be 10 billion people! That growth is roughly equal to 200,000 people every day. To give the numbers more meaning I explained that this growth means:
- A new city of Zurich every 3 days (600,000 population)
- A new city of Davos every 75 minutes (11,000 population)
- An auditorium of 130 students every minute.
This staggering amount of population growth in a planet with finite resources causes alarm. I explained to the kids that by the time they finish school there will be:
- A lot more people needing food and water but not having enough land to produce or freshwater available.
- A lot more people needing clothes (which is the second most pollution producing business after oil.)
- A lot more people needing healthcare.
- A lot more elders (needing specialised care)
- A lot more people living in cities needing infrastructure
- A lot more people needing and using up energy and resources
- A lot more people producing waste!
The Repercussions of Overpopulation
It’s important to break down the repercussions of the continuous rise in population. Kids don’t understand macro-level world issues yet. So the number of people may seem very abstract because it’s also hard to imagine that scale. But if you explain to them what the effects are and how the population rise will affect their entire future, then it becomes serious. You have to explain to them that there will be more people eating the same amount of pie.
If you cannot find a way to reduce the amount of people who will be eating the pie, then you have to find a way to make the pie be enough for the growing number of people wanting to eat it.
We have to make our kids aware because it is their future. As parents, we want them to grow equipped and prepared for the challenges ahead. They are inheriting a world that’s over-consuming. As they grow up, they will realise that it is a world full of problems and challenges. They are inheriting an aging society. With medical advancement, life expectancy is rising — people are living longer due to medical advancements.
But, this also means that the next generation is stepping into a world full of opportunities. The continuous rise of the population coupled with the problems of climate change and irresponsible capitalism is a hotbed for innovation. What’s important is that we instill the principles of responsible resource management and smart choices from an early age: Sustainability and Financial Literacy.
A Smart Way to Manage Resources
Learning about Sustainability will help our kids learn how to manage finite (natural) resources. Financial literacy will help our kids smartly manage and allocate financial resources over their lifetime. In a world that is growing despite the finite resources, what’s important is that kids learn smart resource management. We need kids to learn how to properly allocate their limited resources to maintain or create the best quality of life for them.
It’s about mastering longevity and making sure that the resources they have will be enough for their lifetime.
We need to empower our kids to start being smart about the way they look at resources early on. It’s our responsibility to help them cultivate healthy habits that will allow them to lead a financially smart and consciously sustainable life.