Friday, January 14, 2005

The Future

Predicting is very difficult, especially when you are talking about the future. Yogi Berra

I just got a piece in the mail from the World Future Society. It is their special report for the Winter of 2005.

Forecast #1

By the year 2025, China will emit more carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide than the United States, Japan, and Canada combined--70% of the energy used in China comes from coal burning power plants, few of which are equiped with pollution controls.

Forecast #2

Hydrogen power will be cost competitive by 2018. New hydrogen generators that run on solar power will drive price breakthrough. The result will be affordable and nonpolluting cars that are ultimately powered by water.

Forecast #3

The US faces a tidal wave of e-waste. Some 3/4 of all the computers, televisions and PDAs ever sold in the US are no longer in use and await disposal.

Forecast #4

Even without dramatic advances in life extension, Baby Boomers are likely to live much longer, and in better health, than anyone now expects.

Now, I spoke not too long ago to members of this group and I found them to be a very savvy and sophisticated group. However, three of these predictions are not predictions, they are more like projections. If we continue to head on this heading at this speed we will be in Dakota by morning.

Predicting is much more difficult.

One reason predicting is so hard is because reality can't make up its mind.

Often, the competing forces are precariously balanced.

And even though everything is in everything,

And the oneness reveals itself always,

It only reveals itself once it knows for sure what it is there is to reveal.

Things can break one way or the other based on inches.

It really is like a football game or any other sporting event.

One little tiny thing, a bad call, a good break, a stupid fumble,

can completely change the momentum and alter the game,

and suddenly, one of the two relatively balanced teams

has the upper hand and it is beating the tar out of the other.

It's actually kind of scary.

So, we can be real smart and make projections about the future,

and we can be real lucky and make predictions about the future.

So, lets look at food projections.

Prediction #1

Feeding everyone in 20 years is going to take cooperation.

So, lets look at energy projections.

Here is the conventional view.

Here is the contrarian view.

Prediction #2

Providing energy for everyone in 20 years is going to take cooperation.

So, let's take a look at water supplies.

Prediction #3

Providing water for everyone in 20 years is going to take cooperation.

If you want to follow trends, I know of no better source than Worldwatch.

Lester Brown and Chris Flavin are doing their best

at watching the World for us.

If you want to predict the future,

I know of no better way than getting in the game.

It really is a game of inches.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Fortune favors the brave." Virgil Aeneid (70BC-19BC)

"All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, and desire." Aristotle (384BC-322BC)

"Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something." Pancho Villa, last words (1877-1923)

10:55 AM  
Blogger oZ said...

I like the Villa quote.. 46 years. thank you for your comments.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Urban Denizen #512 said...

When I read these posts, I simultaneously feel overwhelmed and compelled to write. The latter begets the former, so maybe it is not so simultaneous, after all. The compulsion, then...

Without qualification or evaluation, the recent geological event in Southest Asia lends well to the dilemna of making future plans, today.

ON one hand, it is evident that people around the world, at the very least, recognize that our's is a global community and subsequently are compelled to voluntarily provide assistance, when assistance is so desperately needed.

ON the other hand, it is evident that the same global community is without adequate means to organize and successfully remedy the functional challeges in the aftermath of a devestating geological event. We look to governments to do our bidding, but because of the nature of government, it is never done very satisfactorily and certainly not efficiently. (DeFacto and DeJure considerations. Of Culture vs. Of Law. More on this latter...)

Thought I try not to make arguing from example a habit, the inevitability of Energy Source Crisis is not unlike the inevitability of a devastating tsunamis in Southeast Asia. The only differences are scale and control.

Each present the same functional problem: There is no adequate means to address the problem, satisfactorily.
We can throw money at rebuilding Southeast Asia until we're all blue in the face, but in doing so, why not rebuild Southeast Asia ahead of the curve? Why not build infrastructure that takes all available contengencies into account, thereby building a Southeast Asia for the future, as opposed to rebuilding a Southeast Asia 100 years in the past?

The answer is in the laws and legislation, not only in Southeast Asian countries, but around the world. And this brings me back to the aforementioned parenthetic remark regarding DeJure and Defacto worldviews.

Laws are outdated. Because "legal production" (aka government) is in a state of gridlock, by design, there is no way to remedy these functional problems, legally, regardless of crisis. In this, the future, like so many other developments, must come extra-legally. The catalyst to this extra-legal initiative can and should come by way of the global community's willingness to voluntarily provide the means to a global end.

One would do well to usurp the same spirit exhibited in Southeast Asia and apply it to the Energy Source Crisis... not as a buearecrat, but as a citizen of the world, as a human being.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well spoken SG. I often feel the same. your words, like many in this blog bring me hope and inspiration.

3:55 PM  
Blogger oZ said...

thanks SG for your comments. humankind generally makes the right choice after it has exhausted all other alternatives.

10:53 PM  
Blogger John Hamre said...

For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:38-39

As I'm sure you know, Earth has had many disasters in its past and we will continue to have them in our future. There are some things we can and should do to prevent certain avoidable disasters, but all in all it's not up to us. I therefore believe we should live life for the moment, love one another as much as possible, and take to heart the example of Dr. King and live in tolerance and peace with each other whenever possible.
And if you see someone litter. Kick their ass.


1:00 PM  

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