Making the case for #futuregen

#futuregen cover Jane Davidson

Andrew Curry writes: The Hay Festival — How The Light Gets In — has gone online because of COVID-19 rather than cancelling. It’s free, and takes place over the next week or so, running from this Friday (22nd) to Sunday 31st May. One of the events is on a subject close to our heart. SOIF friend Jane Davidson, who has been a continuing influence on our work on intergenerational fairness, is launching her new book, #futuregen, on Sunday 31st. The other panellists are Green MP Caroline Lucas, student leader Becky Ricketts, and New Zealand policy academic Jonathan Boston.

While she was Wales’ Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing, Jane proposed and steered into law the pioneering Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act of 2015. It was the first piece of law in the world that put regenerative and sustainable practice at the heart of government.

Part story, part memoir

We’ll review the book here once it’s been published, but it’s part memoir, part story, and part review. It’s a memoir of how she became interested in the politics of future generations, a story of how this radical proposal emerged from the politics around sustainability in the 2010s, and a review of the impact so far.

It’s clear that this is not a journey that Jane has made on her own. The book is dotted with quotes from people who have been involved along the way, including SOIF’s managing director Cat Tully.

Five tools

The journey is framed around the five tools proposed by systems thinker Donella Meadows: visioning, learning, truth-telling, learning and loving. In the 30-Year Update to The Limits of Growth, Meadows called these ‘essential characteristics for any society that hopes to survive over the long term.’

Jane’s also appearing on a panel this Friday for Hay’s schools festival, also on the subject of future generations. The other panellists are Mark Drakeford, the Welsh First Minister, Sophie Howe, the Future Generations Commissioner, and Eluned Morgan, Wales’ Minister for International Rel;ations and the Welsh language.

The events are free to attend, and you can register online at the Hay Festival Box Office. They might appreciate a donation, if you can afford it. Jane’s book, #futuregen: Lessons from a small country is published on 4th June by Chelsea Green.