Our woods, forests and trees belong to our children. However, the current long-term harming of our Treescapes is leading to loss of animal and plant life and lower environmental quality. Young people in the UK will be deeply affected by this, and they will be tasked with fixing these problems. And yet their voices are rarely heard in policy and practice, even with growing youth activism. Within the UKRI Treescapes Programme, the project Voices of the Future (2021-2024) links young people’s hopes to ground-breaking science on how trees adapt to and limit climate change. In addition to this, researchers are exploring how we can change the present and reimagine the future of treescapes for the benefit of the whole UK. Voices of the Future is a co-created, participatory and radically interdisciplinary project, spanning life sciences, arts and humanities, social science and education that seeks to equip young people with the tools to plan better environments. In my talk I will present some of the field work done to date on imagining treescapes with primary school-age children and explore the use of the philosophy of hope as a platform on which to build interdisciplinary dialogues about the future.
Bio: Johan Siebers is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Middlesex University, where he is also Theme Director for Sustainable Communities and the Environment. His main research areas are philosophy of language and communication, futurity and the utopian philosophy of Ernst Bloch. He is Co-I of the Voices of the Future project.