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Guest Blog: A heart for a better future

July 18, 2019

© Maja Frank © Maja Frank

A heart for a better future

– MAJA FRANK

Whether it’s combatting climate change, promoting feminism or perfecting your Baklava recipe: there’s still a lot to be done for the future. My Instagram project, @zukunftlikefuture seeks to portray what this could look like and what people are committing to today to improve their futures.

This morning, I was pretty excited to visit the Toiyabe National Forest, and not just because a bear could have jumped out in front of me at any second. I had no idea where Trevor and Jakob would take our team of about 15 volunteers sporting headlamps and me with my camera in hand. As we began our hike to one of the most beautiful places in California, I was struck speechless by the breathtaking landscape.

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“We are building a hiking trail for people with disabilities, because all people need to have access to these wonderful natural treasures. Well, the trail isn’t quite finished yet – but when it is, it will last longer than we will.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Jakob and Trevor are part of the “Californian Conservation Corps”-Programme. They spent the whole season living in the backcountry of the national parks – completely off grid – and made California an even better place to visit for everyone. . . . . . . . #markleeville#hwy89#mountains#california#usa#fall#southlaketahoe#tahoesouth#naturephotography#DisabilityAwareness#NaturalResources#zukunftlikefuture#wildlifeconservation#WunderbarTogether#deutschlandjahrusa#barrierfree#WheelchairTravel#GoetheInstitut#futureispresent#visitcalifornia#portraitoftheday#autumn#groverhotsprings#californiaconservationcorps#getyourbootsdirty#ExploreTheOutDoors#WorkOutside#NaturalResourceWork#WorkOutdoors

Ein Beitrag geteilt von portraits | usa & germany (@zukunftlikefuture) am

“We are building a hiking trail for people with disabilities because all people need to have access to these wonderful natural treasures. Well, the trail isn’t quite finished yet – but when it is, it will last longer than we will”, said Jakob and Trevor. As part of the California Conservation Corps voluntary program, they spent the entire season in the National Park – completely off grid – making California an even better place to visit for everyone.

Equipped with a camera, a small microphone and a lot of curiosity, I traveled through America in October and November 2018. Along the way, I always asked people the same question: What are you doing for the future today?

Almost thirty other Americans share their visions for the future with me just as warmly as Trevor and Jakob had. On my Instagram channel, anyone can get to know all of them and their stories.

Since April 2019, I have been traveling in Germany – asking the same question, of course. Do American and German visions for the future overlap?

On the campus of the University of Leipzig, for example, I met Marie. She told me that she didn’t always like going to school herself, and that’s exactly why she wanted to become a teacher and turn old-fashioned teaching methods upside down. Students shouldn’t lose their curiosity in school. They should have fun while learning, which means co-determination and fun activities instead of just lecturing in front of a class ! Speaking to me, she said “Why should all the kids learn the same poem? The students in my class will be allowed to choose a poem that means something to them, a poem they consider as cool . So, learning something by heart becomes really important to the kids and they can inspire each other with their choices!”

Common Insights

Whether they’re from a small town in the US or a big city in Germany: the people in front of the camera answered the question “What are you doing for the future today?” with two different questions: “What changes are you making? Do we have to take our future into our own hands?” The answer was a resounding Ja! Future-oriented activism can be as simple as picking up a piece of plastic thrown on the ground or confronting those who make homophobic comments in day-to-day interactions.

Empowerment and Activism are Always Welcome

Let’s face it: How many times have your wishes come true all by themselves? That’s just it: It doesn’t just happen like that– you have to do it yourself.

The @ZukunftLikeFuture project transforms this question into motivation to get active and make ourselves aware that we are responsible for the future. What are you doing for the future today?

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