Guy Ryan thinks it’s an amazing time to be alive, and he’s making sure his time is well spent. Entrepreneur, filmmaker and designer, Guy is using his skills to unite the forces of creativity and social change. He is the CEO of Inspiring Stories, a charitable trust that aims to harness the power of storytelling to showcase young people doing great things for their communities. He also co-produced and directed the internationally award-winning film Carving the Future.
What do you think it means to be a New Zealander in the 21st century?
I think it’s an amazing time to be alive. We’ve got some big issues on our hands – social, environmental, and economic. I think we often underestimate our opportunity to be world leaders in driving innovation and tackling these big issues – both globally and here in our own backyard. We need to reframe courage and leadership beyond the sports field to the community. We need to find better ways of celebrating and supporting Kiwis to be the change. We’re at a real turning point in human history – we’re a small nation with enormous potential and we need to step up!
What do you think are the major issues facing youth today and in the next 20 years?
Re-imagining our social norms – we allow mainstream media and popular culture to place way too much emphasis on ‘I’ as opposed to ‘we’. Beyond leaving people feeling overly insecure and overly self-conscious this limits our ability to look beyond ourselves, help others and progress as people. Of course the other big issues are climate change and peak oil, and the threat that these issues increasingly pose to every aspect of our lives – especially food, transport and energy – unless we better understand them and take effective action.
Why do you think youth should vote?
The decisions we make today affect our lives tomorrow. Every single vote counts. Beyond voting I also encourage young people to consider stepping up and running for local and national government – collectively we’re a significant chunk of the population and we’re hugely under-represented.