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What future for Norwich children in 2018?

PUBLISHED: 16:01 12 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:37 02 July 2010

Tara Greaves

What will the world be like in 2018? That is the question Norwich children who were born in the year 2000 will be considering as part of a new Millennium Babies project which aims to chart their lives as they grow up.

What will the world be like in 2018? That is the question Norwich children who were born in the year 2000 will be considering as part of a new Millennium Babies project which aims to chart their lives as they grow up.

With rising food and energy prices and fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, running out, the next generation will likely live in a very different world to the one we know now.

Transition Norwich, part of a worldwide movement planning for a sustainable future, believe that when faced with facts about the energy crunch, children have very good ideas about what should be the new priorities but they are rarely given a voice.

Through the project launched on Thursday, every Norwich child born in 2000 and 1999 will have the chance to investigate how their communities, food and consumer goods might change, how they will travel and what their future jobs might be.

Over a period of eight years the project will enable them to say what they would like to see in Norwich in 2018, and what the priorities would be for them.

Grandmother Jane Chittenden, a member of the core group, said: “We plan to take a snapshot of children's ideas on these themes and others that they come up with, every April 15 from now until 2018. In this way we will build up a picture of the concerns, aspirations, and good ideas that children and young people have about their future.”

Fellow core member Tom Harper, 35, whose stepdaughter is a Millennium Baby, hopes to contact every school with Year 5s within a two mile radius of the Forum to take part in the project.

“We're getting a lot of interest about this project, because Norwich's future affects every child. We have recently been working in schools in Norwich, and it is clear from pupils' responses that they are very concerned about things like where their food comes from and how they are going to travel around, when energy becomes more expensive,” said Tom, who lives off Newmarket Road in Norwich.

While working with children at Catton Grove Primary School, Tom had his assumptions about children today being “addicted to TV and video games” challenged when they played a game about oil.

“A litre jug of water is used to represent oil and a pupil from each varying group whether it be clothing and cosmetics or mobile phones and computers comes up to the front of the class to get 75ml of water/oil, to last them 10 years. 10 years goes by in 1 minute and suddenly all the groups, transport, clothing, food, energy for business and homes, TV's etc, come up to receive more oil. However, there's not enough to go round. Who deserves the oil the most and why?

“All the class agreed that TV and computer games were not important enough to warrant using any oil for. One young man even suggested that TV was completely unproductive, to quote 'you don't do anything, you just sit there'.”

Mrs Chittenden, 60, of Thorpe Hamlet, who works as an editor for government departments, makes her own bread and grows the majority of her vegetables. She believes we cannot go on as we are.

“I'm of the generation that did learn to cook and I can sew and I'm more used to walking or using the pushbike to get around,” she said.

“These skills have died out so we are more reliant on our cars and we throw things away when they could be fixed but we won't always be able to do that. When the Millennium Babies come of age in 2018 things will have had to have changed.

“I want to see a future for my grandchildren, one of whom is a Millenium Baby, but we can't go on as we are.”

If your school in Norwich would like to be part of the scheme, contact Jane Chittenden on 07850 508979 or Tom Harper on 07941 513476.

Are you doing something amazing for the environment? Email tara.greaves@archant.co.uk with the details.

Transition Norwich was “unleashed” in 2008 at a meeting of 400 people at St Andrews Hall and is the world's first Transition City.

The group is now part of a Transition Network of villages, towns, cities and communities who want to enable true community and justice to thrive at a local level, and reduce our climate impact at the same time.

Peak oil, climate change and the economic downturn are the three main concerns.

For more information visit www.transitionnorwich.org.

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