We have come so far. We have explored, mapped and understood our whole world. From our new perspective, we look back and feel a new sense of responsibility, custodianship. We ask ourselves how can we protect our world, heal it and pass it on safely to our children?
Our journey as a species toward mastery of the earth parallels the journey of each human life from fearful infant to wise elder. Beginning in a mysterious, unpredictable, uncertain environment the infant looks to its parent for support, stability, and care. Our ancient ancestors looked to Gods for hope and certainty.
Developing a sense of hope and trust that we are protected and encouraged to grow and take our place in the world.
Autonomy and independent exploration come next. Learning skills and abilities. Crafting the first tools, harnessing fire, clothing ourselves for the journey of discovery to come – in our expansion out of Africa. Next, the small child sets out in vigorous action and interaction, aggressive sometimes. Seeing how far they can go, what they can be.
Then come industry and competence. Reading, writing, numbers and geometry. Gaining confidence that they can understand the workings of creation, create and establish themselves through their efforts.
The child becomes an adult, human beings develop civilisation. Both lead to the birth of the question summed up so well by painter Paul Gauguin in his 1897 masterpiece ‘Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? Rebellion, the search for meaning and identity. Looking anew at ourselves, questioning, reshaping our place in the world.
If we are lucky we learn to share, to discuss, to commit to each other and build a better future for ourselves and our families. Virtue, love, peace, rather than independence or brute strength become our goals.
Now mature we have developed a sense of being part of society, of a bigger picture, a story of thousands of years in which we play our part to pass on to our children. We care for our world.
Caring, nurturing, keeping safe. Looking back at our great achievements, putting right our mistakes. We are wise.
Here we are today. We all understand our great responsibility to protect our world, to pass it on safely to the next generations. The forests, oceans, the air we breathe. The beauty of our world and all its vibrant life is our greatest possession, but we cannot go back to being infants. The knowledge, technology, and civilisation we have developed is our other great gift.
In our youth, we have been careless but now we understand science and technology must be moulded to protect and sustain our beautiful planet, not the other way around.
Nanotechnology is the ultimate example of our responsible, caretaking attitude to innovation. Harnessing cutting-edge science and engineering to reduce environmental impact and with our knowledge of biological systems ensuring only compounds we know to be completely safe are utilised.
Protecting, caring, nurturing. Nanotechnology is the symbol of our new wise resolve.