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The origin of Future in our hands

In 1974 a new movement was founded, under the name "Future in our hands - a people's movement for a new lifestyle and a just distribution of the world's resources". It was a movement in search of a new lifestyle and a more humane society based on solidarity with the world's poor, on ecological balance and a reassessment of personal values.

In 1974 a new movement was founded, under the name "Future in our hands - a people's movement for a new lifestyle and a just distribution of the world's resources". It was a movement in search of a new lifestyle and a more humane society based on solidarity with the world's poor, on ecological balance and a reassessment of personal values.

At the inaugural meeting in Oslo on April 25th 1974, more than 2000 people participated. This was the starting point of the Future in our hands movement, based on the following values:

  • A commitment to an active consideration for our fellow human beings, instead of competition.
  • Equal rights for all.
  • Co-responsibility for the environment


The founding philosophy was that each of us can contribute to changing today's ruinous trends if we start by accepting our share of responsibility for the future, and then join others in working for change.

The book "Future in our hands"
During the autumn of 1972 a book with the title "Framtiden i våre hender" was published in Norway (in English by Pergamon Press as "The future in our hands" in 1979). The book was written by Erik Dammann, and had a fervent ethical appeal, and soon attracted enormous attention. For the first time in Norway the First world's continuing exploitation of the Third World truly was brought to focus.

Quote: "In the same way as we today think that the slave trade and colonial exploitation were inhuman and inconceivably bestial ways of acquiring riches, there is no doubt that coming generations will think that our form of world trade and distribution of the world's benefits were equally inhuman. Is it not high time for us to begin behaving like human beings?"

The Manifesto
At the automn in 1974, the author of the book distributed a manifesto, to test the interest for an organized follow-up. The manifesto was distributed with the signatures of several internationally renowned scientists and intellectuals, amongst them the Swedish Nobel prize winner Gunnar Myrdal and Norwegian eco-philosopher Arne Næss.

Quote: "Working together, we might reverse the insane trends prevailing today. If no change take place, more than half of the children living today will die of hunger or deficiency diseases before they reach adulthood - because a majority of the world's population does not even have enough food. Our greatest problems are caused by surpluses and waste. Our increasing over-consumption is leading towards a catastrophe for our descendants. Reason tells us that we can no longer emphasize materialistic values if we are to solve the problems of today and tomorrow. By listening to reason, we can also create a healthier society for ourselves:

  • A society in which conservation of nature and arable land means more than economic growth.
  • A society in which stress, competition and craving for things may be replaced by natural enjoyment of life, and a concern for those in need.
  • A society in which we can afford to create decent conditions in our schools and work places.

We cannot go on saying that this is an admirable but unnatural goal. Regardless of how difficult it might be to attain, it is the only human goal that we can strive towards. We cannot wait for others. If one country shows the way, others can follow. Within most political parties there are groups that aim at getting this kind of program accepted by their party. But political action needs popular support. If we are to translate our wishes for more sane policies into practice, the majority of us must accept a reduction in personal consumption. As long as we allow ourselves to be pulled along by the currents of the consumer society, we support the forces that oppose change.

There are many of us who would like to work for such a change in our own personal way of life - if we thought it would be of any use. It will be of use, if we act together."

The people below gave their support to this initiative:

Georg Borgstrøm    Georg McRobie    Helder Camara
Gunnar Myrdal      Basil Davidson     Dennis Meadows
Thor Heyerdahl      Arne Næss        Jan Tinbergen