Since the dawn of human history, we have been destroying the natural world at an ever-increasing rate. Now, as human numbers grow, we face an ecological crisis. Mother Nature is resilient, but the time is fast approaching when she will be battered beyond her ability to restore herself. We must make a choice.
From one direction come the voices of those who put economic gain ahead of the interests of future generations, who believe in unlimited economic growth. They are joined by millions who are uninformed and those who understand but do nothing — either because they refuse to change their comfortable lifestyle or because they feel helpless.
If we heed these voices, I see the world in 50 years, perhaps 100, as a dark place, the wonders of nature known only from archived materials and a few sad prisoners in zoos. Environmental refugees, in their millions, will have fled their destroyed homelands, flooded by the rising seas or buried by the encroaching deserts. Many people will be starving as they fight for access to water and land. Medical science will be unable to cope with new infections as bacteria build up resistance to more and more antibiotics and the tropical forests where so many medical cures are sourced are destroyed.
Down the other route are the voices of those advocating for protection of the environment — who understand that, without nature and all that nature provides, not only will plants and animals perish, but eventually so will we.
Albert Einstein said, “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” Indeed! For only then shall we listen to the voices of wisdom. I still have hope that we will.
Many people now understand the need to protect natural resources, realizing that as we destroy animals and ecosystems our own future will also be affected, that saving the forests will slow global warming. A growing number of corporate leaders understand that the materials they need from the developing world for their businesses are running out. More people are speaking out for the poor, and the concept of fair trade has emerged. Ethical values are moving into business. And, yes, fortunately nature is amazingly resilient.
I work with young people around the world. They are breaking down the barriers we have built between cultures, religions, nations and the natural world. We need a critical mass of young people — the next parents, teachers, lawyers, politicians, etc. — who understand that while we need money to live, we should not live for money.
And finally, we are realizing that each one of us makes a difference every day. If each one of us spends a few moments thinking about the consequences of the choices we make — what we buy, eat, wear, and so on — the cumulative impact on the planet will be huge. Then in 50 years, the world will be a much better place than it is today.
The world in which I live in the year 2050 is only marginally different than the one we lived in fifty years ago. Communication technology at this point is really the only thing that has advanced in great leaps.
see more:life in 2050
In 2050, there are no more wires used in communication. No phone lines, no cables. Everyone has a satellite transmitter in their homes that can be used to transmit live video/audio feeds to anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds. This also means that the Internet is no longer dependant on modems, as we knew them at the turn of the century.
Video imagers that allow people to communicate while seeing who you are speeking to have replaced the phones of the twentieth century. All banking, shopping and personal business can now be done in the comfort and privacy of your own home. This is probably the single most amazing thing about this time. Companies like FedEx, and UPS have become shipping giants of this time, with millions of employees and tens of thousands of offices all over the world. These companies are what make living in 2050 so unique. With more people spending less time going out to shop, shipping companies like these are the only way millions of people can survive.
Back in the early 1980’s, I remember watching a movie called Aliens. I remember this well because there was a scene in the movie when Ripley, the main character, used a card inserted into a videophone that allowed her to see who she was talking to. At the time I was amazed at the special effects in this movie. Now of course all we need do is to speak the name and city of the person we want to talk to so that the communication computer can hear it and we are connected instantly.
We no longer have to worry about garbled communications, or language barriers with the latest translator technology. Sure, the translators sound kind of boxy and computerize, but in time I think that even these bugs will be worked out. All in all, 2050 is an exciting time, and new things will be discovered every day. There is word that communication mega giant AT&T is developing a chip that can be implanted in the skull that would make videophones obsolete in a few years. They say that all you have to do is think about calling someone and, boom, you are connected. Well, I guess only time will tell. For sure, seventy years ago, these things were probably considered outlandish ideas, but amazingly, life seems to imitate Sci-Fi. I mean, look at what the old Star Trek series did for Cell Phones.