What happens now

In Adaptation

At the end of the Global Futures series I left us with a grim picture of the future, with little hope for the future of the human race and where our extinction is accompanied by the extinction of many of the plants and animals that share the world with us today. One thing about futures, though, is that they generally have two parts, an outcome and a path to that outcome. The other thing about futures is that we often have ways of choosing the outcome, and ways of choosing the path. Of course, the degree of choice of outcome may be limited. Death and taxes are famously unavoidable, though the jury is open on taxes. But we can choose to postpone death by being careful when crossing the road, and we can choose to minimise taxes by hiring an accountant. Equally, we can accept that death is inevitable, and choose the way we live, in whatever way is open to us. For our purposes here we have a range of possible future states. The first possibility is extinction in fairly short order, coupled with a brutal and unpleasant life for those living through the process. The best possible outcome, given our starting point, is that we avoid extinction completely but we have to manage our lives to also minimise the disruption caused by the changes that are already underway. In between we have various possibilities, roughly arranged around postponement of extinction and failure to minimise disruption. Since we do not know exactly how bad things might be, or how much leeway we might have, there seems little point in aiming for a half-way point that we might yet miss. We have to aim for the best possible outcome, and we have to start now.

There are things we need to do, and there ways to get them done. Some might think we need to identify who is responsible. in fact, we are all responsible. It may well be up to a national government to implement stuff, but we are responsible for what the government actually does. It may be that other people generate more pollutants than we do, but that does not stop us both working to improve our own position and taking whatever steps we can to stop the others. By simply ignoring a problem we are responsible for its continuance.

Given that, then, it quickly becomes clear that some, many, of the things we need to do will enable other things so we need goals and a context. Let's start by looking at the obvious response.