I was sitting at a conference the other day and we had a presentation from Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, Principal Scientist Strategy & Foresight at the CSIRO.
What a title, hey?
His job (extremely simplified) is to analyse data around future trends and come up with some predictions.
One of these jobs is to produce the megatrends report. A megatrend is a major change or movement throughout a large area. It’s huge. It’s mega.
That’s the explainey- bit done. Let’s get down to what I took out of the presentation.
Stefan was speaking to a bunch of retail property people, and I bet most of them were thinking about the impact of megatrends on their businesses. We talked about things like emerging economies, urbanisation, and digital immersion.
What really stuck with me though was his mention of the trend he dubbed ‘Forever Young’.
The world has an ageing population, we have longer lifespans and there are rising healthcare and retirement pressures.
Today, around 14% of the population will be over 65 years old. It will be 25% by 2050. That is spot on for people in my age group now. I will be 65 in 2050.
As part of the Forever Young trend, Stefan talked about the rising proportion of people that are overweight. Australia is projected to be around 60% obese by 2020.
He said that we currently spend 20% of taxes on healthcare. By 2043 that would raise to 40%. The top 5 areas of expenditure would be in treating cardiovascular disease, mental health, neurological issues, cancer and diabetes.
Put that all together and we’ve got an ageing, unwell population.
Since working on mindfulness training (read more about that here), I’ve been increasingly aware of the impact I’m making on society, but it has been skewed to lessening my negative impact on it (environmentally and socially) instead of improving my positive impact.
After listening to Stefan’s presentation, I’ve decided that I’m not only going to recycle to make the world a better place, but I’m going to eat healthy and exercise to make my impact on societies pressure points as light as possible.
I’m not eating and exercising purely to lose weight and be healthy. I’m doing it so I’m not part of the problem come 2050.
Maybe it’s time for a mindset change? I’m aware of the cliché. Let’s think of the children and make the world a better place for generations to come.
But the writing is on the wall, and in numerous reports. Things are already pretty FUBAR. We might not feel like it’s within our power to make a huge difference and stop global warming for example, but it’s within our power and our interest to be healthy especially if we're going to be sticking around for longer and longer.