It’s been two years since Cate and I experienced the birth of our first child on a snowy February night in Iowa. I’ll never forget how I was overcome by emotion as I felt that tiny little hand wrap around my finger for the very first time. As his eyes opened I saw my reflection, and my joy was quickly replaced with panic. Was I ready? Had I done everything possible to prepare? Had I been a good steward of the world that he will one day inherit?
Over the last two years my panic has slowly been replaced with optimism, as I’ve shifted my focus from the past, which I can’t control, to the future, which I can. There is no question that our world is changing – faster now than ever before – and with that increase in speed, we must be careful to ensure that the present we’re living is the future we want to create for our children.
As we examine where we are, we all quickly realize that our world is facing unprecedented adversity, including climatological and environmental instability, cultural conflict, economic uncertainty, the threat of global pandemics, and a growing energy crisis. At times it feels that we are facing so many insurmountable obstacles that the story that will be shared by our children is already written.
However, it was established long ago that adversity creates opportunity for those with the drive and creativity to achieve their dreams. And in the midst of these challenges, the world is filled with stories of inspiration and accomplishment.
One example of the endurance of the human spirit is the River Thames, which flows through central London and was declared “biologically dead” in the 1950s. As the result of the work of a team of environmentalists, the Thames has been restored as a habitat for hundreds of aquatic species including sea horses, dolphins, seals, porpoises and even an occasional whale. Another example of endurance comes from the Himalayas, where the forests at the base of Mount Everest were devastated and destroyed by a tourism industry that was thought to be unsustainable. Today the spectacular Rhododendron forests have returned, due to the planting of more than a million seedlings by local villagers who continue to welcome their western friends into their homes.
For these reasons, I am convinced that our world is filled with more solutions than problems, and that the future that we are creating for our children is filled with tremendous possibility.
Next year, with the support of our team of teachers and journalists, my family and I will depart on a year-long investigation into the current status of our world on an expedition we call The World Tri. Along the way we’ll be focused on the future as we collect stories of inspiration and accomplishment from friends across the world.
The World Tri is an adventure of unprecedented proportion, which has been designed to maximize public interest around the world, allowing our team of teachers and journalists an international platform for collaboration as we inspire and empower the next generation to pursue the limits of possibility.
I hope you’ll join us as we explore the present and set a path for the future on The World Tri!