‘Disastrous consequences’: Future 5 project explores Lancashire’s biggest future challenges from the climate crisis to equality

The best people to ask about the future are young people. They’re invested in it, they care about it, they will live it. And so that’s just what a new project in Lancashire has done.

By Jack Marshall
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 4:55 am
A new CGI shows how the interior of Eden Project North could look.
A new CGI shows how the interior of Eden Project North could look.

Designed to highlight a range of visions for what may lay in store for them come 2027, Future 5 saw five groups of young people from Morecambe Bay Academy, Bay Leadership Academy, Lancaster & Morecambe College, Stanleys Community Centre, and Lancashire Youth Challenge come together to express their vision for the future.

The results were then taken by a group of film-makers, a sound artist, and a poet, who collaborated with the group of about 50 students, all aged between 12 and 17, to create a video exhibition. The final result was then screened in the window of the Venus and Cupid Arts Trust Shop in the Arndale Centre in Morecambe.

“We asked them to consider some of the biggest challenges they think we'll all be facing - both in the immediate future and over the next five years,” says creative director Joseph Rynhart. “The films are a chance for them to explore social issues, engage with professional artists, and think about their hopes and fears for the future.

Young people filming for the Future 5 project

“Their work is abstract and thought-provoking, and we're all exceptionally proud of how they engaged with difficult topics.”

Morecambe was chosen due to the fact that the town is likely to see significant change in the next five years if the Eden Project North goes ahead and the climate emergency affects the bay. Reflecting this, one of the major concerns expressed by the young people via the project was indeed climate change, as well as equality and education.

In 2019, Lancaster City Council declared a Climate Emergency and has been taking action to increase energy efficiency and reduce its carbon emissions since then. They recently commissioned Buro Happold Ltd, a leading engineering consultancy, to explore options for decarbonising 18 of its buildings, including Morecambe Town Hall.

The final report was published earlier this year, and recommends a set of plans in response to issues raised by young people in particular, with a petition presented to the council back in 2019 reading: “We, the young people of Lancaster, are the generation which will feel the effects of global warming, yet there is little action to reduce these effects.

A Future 5 workshop

“As a generation, we have never lived in a time of stable climate conditions,” it continues. “We are seeing its devastating effects in many ways already: sea levels are rising, habitats are being destroyed and our future is uncertain. If the current global trend continues, it is very likely that the earth’s temperature will rise by 2ºC.

“The consequences will be disastrous. As a society, we need to involve the opinions of young people in the decision-making processes to tackle this climate emergency, to help protect our future.”

Funded by Lancaster University, the arts and culture organisation Curious Minds, and the Venus & Cupid Arts Trust, the Future 5 project is the last of this year’s Our Place In The World projects, a cultural and creative education programme managed by young people’s charity Lancashire Youth Challenge (LYC) and Lancaster District Cultural Education Partnership.

Through Future 5, young people have spoken. Now it’s on others to listen.