« You’ll make the world a better place to live » is the promise Jeremy Rifkin made to the 1400 students gathered in Lille for the World Forum. Celebrating the 5th birthday of the 3rd industrial revolution in the Hauts de France region, the pioneer economist spoke to a young audience about their present and future. He advocated for global change. He asked them to drop their smartphones so they can have a real heart-to-heart exchange.
© Maxime Dufour photographies
- The 21st century: a society in mutation
Jeremy Rifkin did not waste any time. One day mankind will only have a single thought in mind: saving our species, saving our planet. This is the real impact climate change has. Besides global warming, our entire ecosystem is collapsing. As temperatures rises, the weather gets more unpredictable. Flooding in France, hurricanes in the USA, more and more people dying because of natural disasters: this is the new norm.
Productivity is declining, global GDP is growing at a slower rate, the seven richest people of the world hold half the world’s wealth. Something is wrong. Indeed, this is the sunset of the 2nd Industrial Revolution, amplified by fossil fuels and the sunrise of the 3rd Industrial Revolution and new communication methods.
The rev3 project is the opportunity to change things. This revolution is based on the ongoing changes since the 2008 economic earthquake: new communication technologies, new sources of energy and new ways of transport. This triad is framing societies and economies.
How do we become actors of tomorrow?
He questions young people on their practices, and on the way they are living. Nowadays, being able to govern a nation means being able to meet the required change. « Youth is the third revolution ». The youngest generation was born into communication: Rev3’s bet is therefore based on sharing. Power could be shared between citizens that would now be their own producers. People could be able to move sustainably through new ways of transport.
« From globalization top down to glocalisation », this implies that each region can be an active player in control of their own economy and exchanges with other regions. The future world is an hyperconnected space where every building is a node that can produce energy.
This is the human role to achieve this plan. Young people need to join the project, to be capable of going with the flow. By becoming a reference model, Hauts de France could be an inspiration for Europe and extract itself from a development logic in decline.
« I don’t think it’s just about responsibility: we have to change who we are » said the prospective economist. He puts his hopes on individual behavior, in the faith that anyone can change anything within his capacity. « Show the world it can be done ».