We live in a paradoxical world. As we continue to deliver more material comforts and conveniences to more people, we are simultaneously confronted with the cost of delivering those comforts in the form of climate change. According to the UN Emission Gap Report, our ‘commitment gap’ is steadily rising. Policy changes are necessary, but how do we get people to change their attitudes and behaviours towards consumption, and make their attitudes, habits and rituals more synonymous with our emerging future ?
Though there are many ways to explore this question, I was particularly drawn to the idea of re-imaging popular rituals and rites to make them more attuned to a future where environmental crisis is a reality. Rituals are a ubiquitous part of our social world, and among other things, mark rites of passage in an individual’s life (birthdays, weddings, anniversaries). Though they are ubiquitous, it is worth questioning whether these rituals carry the same significance anymore. An important element of many rites of passage is ritual of ‘gifting’. Though never thought of as a rite of passage, the global gifting market is poised to be about $77B by 2022. In many ways, it is worth asking if current gifting trends contribute to our own future demise by adding to our consumerism ? If so, what can be done about it ?
The Future Present hopes to explore such an alternative. The project aims to reimagine rituals of intergenerational gifting to young urban adults to be more meaningful and conscious towards the present and future environment. It is envisioned as a gifting service/platform that enables parents to gift their children the promise of a greener tomorrow by investing in urban gardens/forests. The youth are given a chance to explore the bounties of these gardens, make an investment into their future as well as pass it on to someone else.