Tell ‘what if…?’ stories

Illustration by Meg McKenzie

If more young people are empowered to share their visions in different spheres of influence, we can expand the public imagination of possibilities for how we might live. Their visions can be expressed in different ways of storytelling, including film, sculpture, comedy, poetry and graphic art. Use creative methods right from the start so that ideas are free to flow between participants.

Invite participants to develop a story of how we might live in future, based on a ‘what if…?’ question. What if we tried…? What if there was more of….? What if our minds changed…?

They might flesh out the stories with characters, settings, dramatic happenings or keep them as simple descriptions in a reportage style. 

You could share the following stories out across a group, or ask them to choose from a pile or list. 

  • What if a lifestyle of making, mending and consuming or travelling less is more enjoyable, affordable and healthy than the current lifestyle?
  • What if, rather than working to pay for things and holidays we don’t need, we can work to create rich, connected, sustainable lives we don’t yearn to escape from?
  • What if there are workable alternatives to debt-based financial systems?
  • What if we form co-operatives, share resources and work together, so that we don’t need to work for big harmful businesses in order to survive? 
  • What if we are more stable and resilient as a community, providing more of our own energy and food, and having more control over our lives?
  • What if we create food systems based on plants, locally grown, in ways that solve many other problems including ill health, and enable resilience to climate impacts that cause food shortages?
  • What if it’s normal to use renewable energy, and to use all energy carefully, so that we save money, don’t pollute the air and don’t disrupt the climate?
  • What if more biodiversity surrounded us, indoors and outdoors, and inspired us to tackle problems?
  • What if schools were all about creating together to reflect and remake the world, so that we can have a voice, try out possible futures, have fun, get to know ourselves, and develop our wellbeing?

See two inspiring projects aiming to change the stories we are told:

Good Life 2030 – changing advertising to show us a better life

Thrutopia – a course and community of writers, aiming to change entertainment, media & literature