(Editor’s Note: I will be traveling in Iceland and then Montana for the next few weeks — reading, thinking, hiking, and relaxing — so I have decided to post this Future Friday Five a little early. The regular edition will start again on Friday, July 16.)
Think in Time: Millions of cod once clogged the North Atlantic; billions of carrier pigeons once roamed the skies of North America; countless starlings whirled in dazzling murmurations across England; and blue tuna were once so bountiful that they posed a problem to fishermen. Few people think about the disappearance of these creatures but in this brilliant article by Richard Fisher, “Generational Amnesia: The Memory Loss That Harms the Planet,” the author explains why each generation must seek to pass forward experience rather than judgement on younger generations. Nothing less than the future of our planet is at stake. This article and its message is something we all need to spend more time thinking about. (P.S. While in Iceland, I visited Ok — a glacier that was officially declared dead in 2018.)
Think the Unthinkable: If the pandemic taught us anything it is that we must better prepare for the unexpected. This is neither an easy or pleasant task, but the alternative — not preparing for unexpected events — is even worse. To this end, a new report suggests that the crushing impact of climate change could hit even sooner than expected. To make matters even more dire, humanity may be about to cross thresholds beyond which recovery may become impossible. This is an issue we all need to spend less time thinking about and more time acting on!
Think Harder: In spite of the previous two articles not everything is going to “hell-in-a-handbasket.” There are still reasons to be optimistic, especially on the healthcare front. Two recent reports are particularly noteworthy: A new blood test that identifies 50 types of cancer is accurate enough that it will soon be made available to the public and a new gene editing breakthrough could treat many more diseases.
Think Small: Did you know that America has eight parking spots for every car? I didn’t. Nevertheless, eight parking spots per car seems a little excessive doesn’t it? Urban planners, real estate developers, and local elected officials are now waking up to this issue and it will impact everything from public transportation and affordable housing to urban air pollution. Whether you live in a city or care about any of the aforementioned issues, this is a topic worth thinking about.
Think Big: By 2040, concrete (cement) will outweigh all biomass on the planet. Stop for a moment and think about that … soon concrete will outweigh every living person on the planet, every animal in every field, every fish in every lake, river, and ocean, and every single tree in every forest. Personally, I don’t know what to make of this but, as a futurist, I am of the opinion that sooner rather later every industry using concrete will be required (mandated?) to employ sustainable and environmentally-friendly types of concrete and cement.
Thought of the week: “Orville Wright did not have a pilot’s license.” Gordon MacKenzie
Until next week: Don’t stop thinking about the future! But also never forget “It is easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than think your way into a new way of acting!”