TIME flies and the first babies born as the current century began are now young adults – they’ll be 18 this year.

If we’ve got it right in how we bring them up, and the example we show them, we can expect them to make a better fist of managing the rest of the century than we did with the last one.

When I was born the world population was just over two billion, and by 2024 it will be over eight billion, and rising. While the developed world is producing on average just under two children per couple the population is still increasing because we are living, or hanging on, longer, and many of these young adults should likely become centurions.

But perhaps they won’t, and it’ll not just be medical care failing, because by then the eleven billion humans will be facing food shortages, sea level a metre higher, and temperatures and rain storms that many won’t cope with.

I would expect these young adults to be well informed about what is happening to the climate and committed to reducing their own CO2 production by adjusting their lifestyles in their own interest and that of their future children. However this is sadly not the case if the young folk I know well are typical despite being exposed to me constantly harping on about the inevitable problem.

I clearly am not a match for the glossy market economy based on continued growth, conspicuous consumption and increased travel, and we are certainly selling them short. The need to change our behaviour to avoid the temperature increasing by two degrees and more should be a constant theme in education, at the appropriate level from reception classes through to year thirteen.

It means all teachers should receive government sponsored extra training, now, in how to present the threat and the alternatives.