OPINION

Greece 2121: Α look into the future

greece-2121-a-look-into-the-future

I’ve never thought of myself as much of a futurist but more of a realist and on a good day maybe even an idealist. Forecasting what our future might look like 100 years from now by predicting the logical extension of where technologies are today like artificial intelligence, blockchain, quantum computing, virtual reality and the internet of things would almost be predictable in itself for someone with my background to do.

I’d rather tell it like it is, right now.

2121 isn’t 100 years away, it’s already here and we’re writing what the world will look like in a century at this very moment, no need for predicting. 

Sure technology will play a crucial role in almost everything we do, but if you really want to catch a glimpse of our not-so-distant future, take a good look at everything that’s happening today across society, culture and especially the environment.

Speaking of today, we are celebrating our bicentennial, 200 years since a series of revolts and courageous uprisings started that eventually lead to the liberation of Greece.

But there’s another battle currently being waged that doesn’t require war and can be won peacefully, and it’s only really just begun. 

The climate crisis. The fight of our lives. To save the planet.

How epic would it be for a country like Greece, on the day it celebrates its liberation – to start a peaceful revolution on behalf of the environment? To declare an end to all the destruction being levied on our planet and to pledge to be it’s protectorate.

To not only put the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) at the heart of everything we do but to also be held to account as a country through standards like ESG (Environmental, Social and [Corporate] Governance). 

The struggle to save the environment is existential and something we should all be fighting for – full stop.

As a country we’ve made great progress across renewable energy, ranking Greece among some of the top countries in the world, something we should be proud of and keep building on.

Add the electrification of our islands and other strategic shifts and we’re more than credible to start a global dialogue on all things environmental.

As everyday citizens, changing our behaviors by cutting down on our consumption, CO2 emissions, waste etc is also something we all need to commit to, like our lives depended on it.

This is where innovation comes in. Where technology and creativity play a critical role.

One of the things I’ve been pushing for is for Greece’s rapidly growing startup ecosystem to focus on sustainability and the environment. For Greece to ‘own’ the Sustainable Startups space.

To show how we can create commercially viable and dare I say profitable businesses that aren’t at the expense of the planet. This is the key.

We have some of the smartest and most talented scientists, engineers, designers and programmers in the world with many more arriving every day back to our great country. Our modern-day innovators and inventors. 

We also have the climate and location that are ideal for piloting programs that go on to scale globally. A place where we tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges with world-changing ideas. 

Greece, rapidly prototyping for the planet. 

Solving some of the world’s most important problems, like: removing plastics from the supply chain, moving us away from our reliance on fossil fuels and looking at how we grow more environmentally friendly food. Sustainable tourism, cleaning up our oceans and protecting our rich biodiversity. This is truly fitting of Greece.

To celebrate 200 years of freedom, Greece pledges to defend the planet. 

How incredible a headline would that be? In this very newspaper.

A message for the world from the birthplace of democracy. A statement of intent, a promise for the future from a country famous for its past.

200 years ago our bravest gave their lives so that we can be free. If you want to see what things will look like in 2121, long after today’s futurists are gone, look at what we can do today.

Let’s lead the Greentech charge and make our heroic ancestors proud of their sacrifices and 2121 the 300-year anniversary of our independence, something future generations can look forward to celebrating.


Steve Vranakis is a creative activist.