Form short-term minded to long term thinkers


As you look back in history you can find many examples of people and societies in witch long term thinking was a default mindset. Native Americans would alter the natural growing of tries, so they would serve as a landmark for furfure generation. For five century’s  Oxford University land keepers would pass on to their successor that a small forest of oak trees couldn’t be harvest, because they were plated to replace the beams in Oxford collage hall. 16th century Dutch ship builders would use ropes to pull young trees into a crooked shape so they would grow in the shape that was needed for a specific part of a ship. These people didn’t  think about themselves or even their own live span. Their actions wouldn’t benefit their children or grandchildren but a generation that they themselves would never even meet.

We live in a society of instant gratification. We want things now, not in 20 years. This way of thinking is a heritage form our primal brain, our instincts tents to think in the now. But instant gratification is also a mindset, a mindset that you learned by technologies, society and your environment. Apart from having trouble saving up some money and imagining a better future job when you’re in high school. This sort-term way of thinking has also great implications concerning tackling the environmental matters like pollution and global warming. Studies have concluded that this sort-term mindset might be the biggest barrier we have to deal with to tackle these problems.

When we speak of environmental issues we tent to quote facts form natural science. But the social science might even play a more important role. This is about the “why” we don’t sort out our waste, consume less meat or don’t shut down the oil drilling. These examples are all influenced by the social and individual aspect of instant gratification or in other words our desire for sort-term gains. Our live span is too sort to notice significant changes of climate change that would have negative effects on our way of living, so we don’t really care. It concerns everybody, but especially politicians. They are among the most influential people in the country. They construct laws that the people and companies have to follow. Of all people, they should always keep in mind the long term effect of their actions and decisions. It’s easy to make the people happy and gaining votes by satisfying their sort-term desires. Avoiding difficult or controversial issues and let the next generations of politicians, and the next one and so on sort out these problems. Politicians should have the courage to make decisions that might not be popular now, but will benefit of our future generations. They should take the lead forward, pose as an example, and trust that the people will follow. By the means of education and legislation they can change the mindset of society form sort-minded to long term thinkers.

But we can’t lay this responsibility only on the shoulders of our politicians. The general will of the people influences the plans and direction of politicians. After all, we are the ones that vote and might be tempted to vote for political parties that offer us sort-term gains. We should support the brave long term thinkers in politics, and show them that we are ready to change. You can do so by becoming an ambassador of long term thinking. The ambassadors place and nurture a symbolic monument that is planted on the island of the Hofvijver in The Hague. In sight of where politicians debate and make legislation. This monument consist out of living growing trees that have been bended to form the outline of a boat. The monument is a symbolic warning for generations to come. To keep reminding them of the importance of long term thinking. When the boat is fully grown, it will either be a reminder of how we tacked the environmental problem. Or it will cruise the new sea that once was the Netherlands.


Hugo van der Loo






New York University. “Instant Gratification Poses Barrier to Addressing Climate Change.” NYU. Published 23 Oct. 2013.


Ugc. “Oak Beams, New College Oxford.” Atlas Obscura, Atlas Obscura, 23 Mar. 2010. Accessed 2016.


Baas, Maarten . The Tree Trunk Chair. 2016, The Groninger Museum, Groningen . The Netherlands.


Boezem, Marines. De Groene Katherdraal. 1986, Almere . Flevoland . The Netherlands.


Vos, Willem. De bouw van een Oost-Indiëvaarder. Zutphen, The Netherlands, Walburg press, 2015.