2020: The Start of Our Brighter Future

Positive thoughts and actions will help get us there.

Posted Dec 30, 2019

Valmedia/Shutterstock
Source: Valmedia/Shutterstock

As we enter a new decade, the great unknown—our future—is hurtling toward us at a breakneck pace. So let’s stop for a moment to look back at how rapidly we’ve moved from roughly 1000 years of the Agricultural Age, through about 200 years of the Industrial Age, and how recently we popped out of the 40-year-old Information Age. The speed at which this acceleration has happened has allowed us to accomplish many things simultaneously. Two of these key accomplishments are a population explosion and an addiction to all things virtual and visual. We have entered The Age of Imagination and Sustainability.

Short of Mother Nature’s intervention—and she’s been flexing her awesome muscles throughout the world with melting ice caps, off-the-chart temperatures and sea levels, and nearly uncontrollably huge fires—there may be no stopping us. Yet, as every increasingly dangerous weather season passes and Mother Nature harshly chastises us for our past and current non-ecologically correct behavior, we continue to gain momentum into this Twin Age. And, if we are conscientious inhabitants of the one and only planet we are squires of, at some point, we should ask ourselves: What am I doing to help save our world?

Age of Sustainability

Technological advances have helped us create what we need and want—but what about the ability to sustain what we have created? At this important juncture in time, it would behoove us to learn from the Native American principle: Our decisions today should be based on how they will affect the next seven generations. The short-term answers we’ve come up with to meet our growing needs—like oil drilling not only on land but also in the sea, GMOs to grow more perfect (looking) foods, and building factories near water into which their waste products are dispensed—have proven to be short-sighted and, even worse, created potential long-term disasters like the horrific leaded toxic water that has affected the health of residents, and especially children, in Flint, Michigan.

But our “needs” have adversely affected other nations, such as our main international trade partner, China. The lack of sustainability in China has produced a shocking, toxic effect on all living things, especially residents. It is documented from the poisonous air Beijing residents must breathe to the polluted water used to raise their food and even to drink. We should be very concerned about what is happening in China because unless we continue to make improvements and work toward a healthy, sustainable environment, China is a harbinger for America—and the world.

It’s time to switch our focus from present hedonistic consumerism to a brighter future positive, personally, within our communities, nationally, and globally. It is past time we seriously worked toward cleaning up the mess we’ve made and helped restore our planet to its proper health-giving status, not this health-destructive mode.

Age of Imagination

Our science and technology are spurred on by our creativity and imagination. Nothing is impossible anymore: What we can imagine, we can create. And these two central components are well on their way to becoming key factors of primary economic importance. The future is now, and we see it with the explosion of virtual reality and “user created content” on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The way we interact socially and professionally has completely changed over the past two decades.

Not long ago, it took days or weeks to communicate via posted letters. If people couldn’t meet face to face, they used the telephone for voice-to-voice contact. We sat together in “family friendly” places to watch our favorite television shows. Now we receive information in seconds via email and the Internet, and telephone calls have been replaced by text messaging, as has Internet chatting. We can watch any show at any time on our laptops, notebooks, or smartphones. We have at our fingertips the ability to communicate with several—or thousands of—people at the same time. We can see, hear, and learn about other cultures instantaneously. We have imagined and created ways to make our lives easier through our clever use of cyberspace and created jobs that can be performed in the comfort of our home. We have expanded our personal worlds to include the entire virtual globe and, ironically, in the process, we’ve built invisible walls that separate and isolate us from others. The more electronically connected we become the less personally and socially connected we really are.

Choose Wisely

The choice—whether we think and act positively or negatively in the dawn of this new decade and the Age of Sustainability and Imagination—is up to each of us. We can be present hedonistic takers and continue to use up our precious resources without thought of our responsibility to future generations and leave them high and dry to figure out a way to clean up the mess and chaos we’ve left behind. Or we can be future-oriented givers and work together, young and not-so-young, rich and not-so-rich, using our expanded imaginations to create a brighter, better connected, more positive future and work towards leaving a legacy of hope and love.

It would be wise to follow the lead of Time magazine’s Person of the Year, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has said, “You must unite behind the science. You must take action. You must do the impossible. Because giving up can never ever be an option.” So let us choose wisely and well and quickly to take the earth-saving path to our brighter future. We end with another quote by our hero, Thunberg: “The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have the facts and solutions. All we have to do is wake up and change.”

References

History.com. 2019. The Flint Water Crisis. 

Gowthaman, N. 2019. Quotes by Greta Thunberg. Yourstory.com

Zimbardo, P., & Sword, R.K.M. 2017. Living & Loving Better. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland.

Zimbardo, P., Sword, R., & Sword, R.K.M. The Time Cure. San Francisco, CA: JossyBass/Wiley.