Based on research about demographics, health, social inequalities and the environment,
INHERIT presents four positive scenarios of what Europe could look like in 2040. Learn more about how we developed the future 2040 scenarios by reading our “Reaching the Triple-Win” report and discover the sustainable lifestyles of Adam, Tereza, Milan and Isabella.
Watch the introduction to a healthier, more equitable and sustainable Europe in 2040:
Fast-forward to the future in 2040 and meet Adam, Tereza, Milan and Isabella:
Scenario 1: Meet Adam – My life between realities
Interconnectivity is the trend that frames this scenario in which everything is digital, connected and personalised. Big data and private companies provide services, with great care for data privacy. This has led to transparent and innovative European societies, with a broad range of new personalised services improving people’s lives.
What people say
“The use of technology at home is nice if it can help you, and alleviate different worries, so you may have more time for yourself and for your family.”*
“What scares us now is the transparent person and that everything is controlled […] they know what we eat, where we go […] I think that’s very bad. And that’s the way it is, with all these apps, everything is controlled.”*
“We are witnessing the expansion of technology – the contents of the videos do not seem so distant and unbelievable to me; I would point out the things that touched everyone and the desire to maintain communication and social life. I hope this will not change and that maybe we’ll be able to emphasize it even more. Perhaps that hope comes from the present alienation and I would be happy if we can maintain our social life. Although the technology development today is an advantage, at the same time it negatively affects social life.”*
“I don’t know if this scenario is possible or not, but I hope it doesn’t happen. It doesn’t provide you with what it should – it dehumanizes.”*
“If I were 15, then I would probably say this scenario is good but maybe at my age, not anymore, because we know what we do and we enjoy our lives… and what we do. Not sit down in some room looking at some machine. That’s just technology. At my age, definitely not.”*
Scenario 2: Meet Isabella – Less is more to me
Characterised by a centralised system, national governments and European institutions play a strong role in the management of services and products, providing public healthcare and education with support from the private sector. Society has developed towards less material ownership and a tendency towards greater sufficiency.
What people say
“I liked this scenario, it really calmed me down. There was a lot of nature and green areas so it was the most pleasant one for me […] Kind of relaxing, […] I identify with this one most.”*
“I liked ‘Less is more to me’, with more green spaces where she said there had been only parking lots and houses everywhere and it wasn’t like that before and now we have green and fresh air and less exhaust fumes everywhere, which is also very important. I thought that was great.”*
“I chose this scenario because I am fond of individualism.”*
“The one that I liked most is this scenario because of the harmony of the individual with technology and nature, but unlike the first, which I didn’t like, it is the individual who controls the use of technology.”*
“I quite like the idea. Everything seems fresh and there wasn’t much traffic around either. Everyone was a lot calmer. These days everyone’s in rush, rush, rushing. Yes, it seemed a bit healthier.”*
Scenario 3: Meet Milan – One for all, all for one
Localism is the distinguishing feature of this scenario and it is reflected in community interactions, local diets, as well as work and leisure activities and living conditions. Technological innovation facilitates local development, whilst policy makers provide rules and regulations to ensure healthy and sustainable living environments.
What people say
“This scenario spoke to me the most, because it’s about human relationships […] So, it’s about helping and sharing […]”*
“This aspect of community, that somehow you still care about several generations and that you actually live with and in this community again […] that’s what I liked.”*
“I like the local community helping citizens to rebuild themselves, progressing, using resources, which is something closer to me. I would be most happy in that scenario.”*
“I liked this scenario most because I like that people are closer, that it is the local community that matters, because we care about what we have close.”*
“I think it is more community spirit based: everybody is working together as opposed to separately and conforming to whatever the ideal is.”*
Scenario 4: Meet Tereza – Our circular community
Companies, governments and citizens work together to create a closed-loop economy with business models in place that emphasise services over product ownership. Citizens are highly connected and dependent on technology for making most of their decisions, but societies are more aware of the importance of commonly-owned and created goods and advocate for more efficient services and products.
What people say
“The 3D printers were nice. If you break something at home and you need it, you can print it out in a minute.”*
“I liked the idea of taking up this sharing topic […] you share your car, you share foods that are not thrown away […] I think that’s nice, this idea of sustainability and sharing.”*
“I hope that with the resources we have in Macedonia we will start recycling in the next 20 years. I think that the future will be based on the reuse of old resources.”*
“My personal values are the protection of nature and recycling […] We live in a society where no matter how much you try to recycle if you do not have a place to do that you will not do it.”*
“It means moving away from the throwaway society. Repair things and make things last longer, like they used to be, rather than changing it every few years or throwing away materials.”*
*The above quotes have been drawn from a report that gathers the outcomes of 5 citizen consultations that INHERIT partners implemented in 5 European countries. This report can be accessed here. Some quotes have been edited to improve English fluidity.