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August 12, 2019 | by  | in News |
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Salient Writers Get to Nerd Out at Festival for the Future

Festival for the Future, as the name implies, looks forward into how our communities and country could tackle some of the biggest challenges facing us today. The key concerns? Just the usual: climate change, inclusion, the economy, and wellbeing.

Over 1200 attendees came from all around New Zealand and the world to hear about the unique path Aotearoa is on, and the urgencies that we, specifically, face.

Keynote sessions, panels, workshops and stalls combined to inspire—and, at times, induce information overload.

Andrew Barnes, creator of the four-day week, was a keynote speaker. His initiative covers all the key areas, looking to create revolutionary solutions to jolt us out of the 9–5, five-days-a-week grind.

He told Salient he is “passionate about helping the amazing young people […] and how we can create a sustainable and stable workplace for them”.

Other keynote speakers included Finance Minister Grant Robertson, Mayor Justin Lester, and All Black TJ Perenara.

Workshops involved an exploration into Te Ao Māori, and how to mobilise people for the upcoming local body elections (remember to enrol to vote by Aug 16).

Climate activist Sophie Handford, panel speaker and winner of the Impact Award for Climate (also sponsored by the festival), emphasised that hearing from the speakers and connecting with other delegates was “hope-bringing and empowering”.

Unfortunately, the festival was less than accessible, especially for those who are likely to spend the most time in the future, and those most vulnerable to it. Tickets sat at around $250, though many of these were given away for free to young leaders, such as Youth Council members.

However, this placed an emphasis on those who already had access to these avenues to be given a ticket—ultimately excluding many marginalised communities.

Nevertheless, it was an inspiring two days, and a reminder of the continuing and constant work required in creating change. As neatly summed up by Grant Robertson:

“The future never comes, it’s always tomorrow.”

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