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Shaping our Future


Information on the outcomes and results of the Change Course Conference, presentations, photos and video files will be made available in mid-January 2013!


Click here to watch the videos of the Closing Ceremony.


The Change Course Conference of the Club of Rome from 8th-11th December 2012 in Winterthur


Change starts with us; we will manage our inheritance say young activists at the Club of Rome’s Change Course Conference


Young activists and thinkers from round the world at the Club of Rome’s ‘Change Course Conference’ gave a clear message to today’s politicians and policy makers: “We are ready to change the course of history. Those who want to continue with business as usual should step aside”.


Some 60 activists from 30 countries had been invited to Switzerland to share their criticisms of the current social and economic model, and to come forward with ideas of how to change it, moving from pessimistic assessments to optimistic solutions. “At the Conference we talked about the real problems and how to tackle the root causes. These are issues that national politics can’t handle. As we’ve just seen at the Doha Meeting on Climate Change, traditional international fora don’t have the means to tackle the problem either”, said the two main Club of Rome organisers, Joséphine von Mitschke-Collande and Alexander Stefes.


Participants heard from Jorgen Randers, one of the authors of The Limits to Growth, the report published in 1972, the inspiration behind the environmental movement; and from Club of Rome Secretary-General Ian Johnson. Then it was time to get down to business: three days of workshops where people brainstormed about the future they wanted and how to make it happen.


Discussion covered the challenges for the future, and found common ground to overcome obstacles to make changes, and looked for the mechanisms to use. In the final sessions they drew up a list of concrete measures and strategies to put change into practice.


Perhaps the most significant element to come out of the Conference is that participants wanted to continue to collaborate to take concrete steps to change the world, and asked the Club of Rome to assist with this. In addition they came up with a vision of how to work in the future:


  • ICE – Inspire people to change their values, build networks to Connect with them and put a premium on Education;
  • Change education and knowledge system –move to EduAction to move people to action;
  • Use the social media to link up people who want systemic change;
  • Build social economics anda long-term transparent political system;
  • Commit, communicate and cooperate.


The Change Course Conference was born out of the idea that the captain of the Titanic (sunk in 1912) had failed to see the signs or listen to advice to change course, just before the ship struck an iceberg.






Never before in human history, has humanity been better educated, informed and connected. Never before have we had so many opportunities to foresee future challenges, manage progress and development, evaluate the consequences of our actions and take precautionary measures.


Humanity has made immense progress over the last decades. The starting point for setting a future’s agenda can be anchored in a healthier, better educated, more prosperous, better informed and connected world than ever before.

How does real change happen?

We know the challenges ahead. We know the mechanisms of change. We know the consequences of our actions. And we care. But how can we shape the future? What does it really take to change course? How does real change happen?

Change Course Conference in Winterthur from 8th-11th December 2012

The Club of Rome Change-Course-Conference from 8th to 11th December 2012 welcomed 60 dedicated and creative young activists from all over the world in Winterthur to exchange their views and have discussions on the future of humanity and our planet. The views of the young generation on the challenges of the future were addressed at public events and a series of all-day workshops.

Meeting of new-emerging international (youth) movements

Despite the often heard reproach that the young generation is lacking engagement regarding common themes for humanity, it has been possible to observe in the last months various very active youth movements  that do challenge and question different established systems via new tools and sometimes outside the traditional network of activism.


Different youth movements around the world such as “Occupy Wall Street”, the “Indignados” in Spain, street protesters in Greece, the emergence of the “Pirate Party” in Germany and the “Arab Spring” show that there is no general “political apathy” among young people.

From youth activism to the underlying systemic root causes

The problem of the existence of underlying systemic root causes may not be as obvious for everyone but the sense that our system is not fit for its purpose is quite evident.


Problems such as unemployment, the depletion of natural resources and the inevitable destruction of biodiversity, the catastrophic consequences of climate change for future generations, and a governance system inept to preserve the environment, as well as to guarantee at the same time a sociably just and fair society are part of the concerns of the young generation.

Steer the course of the future and make change happen

Therefore the Club of Rome by organizing the Change Course Conference created a platform to make the voice of a young generation heard which does not appear to be happening using the traditional channels. The approach in particular avoided the usual and ‘old’ concepts which try to tackle certain aspects of the overall problem.


Help us change the course of history!

On the day that marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, the Club of Rome, the global think-tank specializing in sustainable solutions for our planet, launched its “Change the Course” campaign to get young and committed people to brainstorm on how to change the course of history for a more sustainable society.


In the same way that the Titanic is synonymous with the way that nature showed it was stronger than technology; people today are deluded into believing technology can fix climate change, the economy or resource shortages. We must change course now if we are not to face a global cataclysm.


Change the Course, a web-based project, run in conjunction with several NGOs, like-minded organizations and individuals, asks people to contribute ideas for an urgent change of thinking and action. The voyage of the ultimate ‘Ship of fools’: the Titanic, offers many parallels to the current calls for humanity to change course and to get away from the “business as usual” path. Despite numerous iceberg warnings the Titanic’s captain and crew failed to take proper precautions, such as changing course or speed. In the same way, we are failing to address pressing challenges, such as financial instability, climate change, natural resource depletion, unemployment or food insecurity.


“We know the challenges and we know the solutions. We also know the consequences of inaction, but are failing to make the necessary changes”.