We are coming to the crossroad of competing futures. Some will take what society tells us is the convenient option, assessing the situation and shrugging their shoulders saying “well, there is not much I can do”. They will take the worn and well travelled road, the one with the heavy display of footprints. Stumbling blindly through the dark is when the anxiety starts to kick in. Thirsty, breathless and lacking resources, they power on into the abyss.
Or perhaps more of us will start breaking away, cutting our own path, or collaborating with our fellow humans in a combined effort to pave the way to a sustainable future.
Two roads diverge. One path ends in an environmental utopia, one path has irreversible consequences.
The path of total chaos.
The insatiable demand for oil has reached its peak. Freshwater is a continual source of conflict, rationed to the highest bidders and monopolies, or else obtained by criminal means. Humans are pitted against humans in an ongoing battle for food, energy, possessions and refuge. Children are brought up in a world where pollution is what they will only ever know. Mass deforestation has lead to the extinction of the majority of wildlife, save the odd cockroach or rat. Droughts, flooding and civil conflict are rampant. Bringing with it a widespread diaspora of climate refugees. Life is bleak at best.
Dramatic? Perhaps. Plausible? Certainly. Let’s paint a picture of equally plausible path two.
The path of future optimism.
This path is a lot more pleasing to the human psyche. Although 80% of people live in or surrounding thriving metropolises, these cities will be made up of small communities living off a shared renewable power source. The mandatory implementation of renewable energy infrastructure means that every home is a consumer, as well as a producer of energy. Solar panels, wind turbines and hydro generators are standard and well established installations, meaning that there is no longer an ongoing cost and demand for energy. Instead, there is an excess of energy stored in advanced battery systems, able to be transported instantaneously around the globe. Abundant renewable energy powers all modes of transport, businesses and technology, as well as pocket-sized, personal power converters. The anxiety of a consumer culture tied to a finite and insatiable power supply is non-existent. Instead new economies evolve. Circular economies are standard, everything is reusable. Excess waste is turned into fuel or reused. Advancements in technology means that water is recycled, creating an everlasting, clean supply. Excess carbon is converted into construction materials and as a valuable ingredient in the soil that nourishes small scale, hydroponic, pesticide-free farms. Communal gardens and forests surround cities, within parklands or growing vertically on buildings. More trees mean fresh air and wildlife is abundant. The well-being of the community is an important factor of economic growth. Shared economies are a way of life. Conserving and preserving is the collective mindset. Bamboo and hemp clothing is not just reserved for hippies and eccentrics. Environmentalism is not a radical idea anymore.
In reality, there are multiple paths to future optimism. Grand, game-changing sustainable ideas are yet to be invented. However, YOU have a choice to decide which path you would like to go down. Choose the one less travelled. Break away from the norm. Or better yet, make sustainability the new norm.
The precautionary principle should be reason enough to invest your time and money in a sustainable future. At Goodments, we are pretty certain that we are on the right path, are you with us?