I work with communities often focused on envisioning the future. It’s very common for people to complain about how things have generally changed for the worse- congestion is worse, air quality is worse, schools are worse. I sometimes start discussions with this pithy gem, “Change is hard…and yet it is inevitable.”
Talking to the public at recent hearings and community meetings, I’ve notice people will often start with how long they’ve lived there and how put-off they are by whatever is changing – new development, changing roadways, and construction. I am just as guilty of this. I hear myself extolling why things need to stay the same, but then I think, does my longevity in an area give me greater ownership? Is my voice more important than someone who just moved here? As if my level of entitlement is proportional to the years I’ve been rooted here. Under this scenario, indigenous populations – pre-Europeans – should have the greatest sway, right?
I’m mindful of what Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one most adaptable to change.”
What counts is our ability to adapt to change, and from this vantage, maybe we should be engaging young people even more. What if we nurtured and listened to this new generation more carefully- this generation that is destined to take over. Maybe we need to make space for them. Maybe they don’t want everything done for them. And maybe they are more than willing and able to take over to create change. I sure hope so.