The World in 2030

[© Elysee Shen/Getty Images]

This year, 2015, is the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, which were adopted in 2000 to address the many faces of extreme poverty and have guided much of the international development agenda ever since. It is also the beginning of the Sustainable Development Goals, a new set of international goals focused on 2030. What kind of world will we inhabit in 2030? Two key factors influencing this outcome are, on the one hand, the intensifying global environmental crisis and, on the other, the rapid pace of developments in science and technology. Both seem likely to significantly alter life as we know it in the coming 15 years.

Sadly, for some 1.3 billion people in the world today, the most pressing questions about the future are more immediate--will they be able to fend off starvation and the ravages of preventable diseases that continue to claim the lives of thousands of children and adults daily? Whatever changes the world undergoes in the coming decades, our progress can only be meaningfully measured against the welfare of these individuals. What is certain is that the future will be shaped by our actions and attitudes now. Conversely, however, our responses in the present are greatly influenced by what we believe the future will be like. A dismal view leads to apathy and despair; an optimistic view leads to hope and action.

As Noam Chomsky writes, "Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so."

One great source of optimism is knowing that there are committed people working energetically in all spheres of society to find solutions to existing problems and move civilization toward a lasting peace. The SGI movement will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2030 and will continue making efforts to promote a philosophy of peace and respect for all life.

In the end, it is, as SGI President Daisaku Ikeda writes, "the solidarity of ordinary people that, more than any other force, will propel humankind in our efforts to meet the challenges that face us."