Why We Should Be Optimistic About the Future and the Environment
When I began creating our kids book apps, I made a decision that I would not use fear in our stories. I won’t use it to try to motivate good environmental behavior. I won’t use it to drive sales. In fact, I make a daily attempt to eliminate fear from my life. Considering the amount of people who seem to agree that the Earth is on a direct course for catastrophe, writing only positive stories that exist in this environmental arena is not always easy to do, especially since our subject matter deals directly with carbon output, trash management, and topics that concern the health of the Earth.
In order to walk that fine line, it requires that I believe that the Earth is currently okay, and that it is going to be okay. It brings up a few questions.
1. If the Earth is okay, why do we need to make an effort toward sustainability?
If all is well, then why recycle? Why work toward using more renewable energy? Why do anything ‘green’? In fact, why not just drive old muscle cars that get 5 miles to the gallon while spraying a can of CFC’s into the air as we decorate the forest with plastic grocery bags? Well, believing that the Earth will be okay does not mean that we don’ t need to work on improving the way we interact with and affect our planet.
Humans are the only species on Earth that can continuously improve our condition by using our minds, skills and technology. Sure, birds can
make nests and chimps crack nuts with rocks, but we are the only race that can figure out an increasingly comfortable nest and find a more effective and efficient rock. In fact, we start with a rock, move to a steel nutcracker, and eventually end up with a factory that hulls nuts by the millions. It is in the nature of being human that we keep improving our condition. In doing so, we are going to come up with ways to handle global warming. We are going to move toward a more equitable society. We are going to reduce and hopefully eliminate war.
As we work toward an improved future, it makes sense to move to a resource that shines down on us all day, rather than digging massive holes to access one that the Earth has seen fit to bury. It makes sense to use the blowing of the wind, a resource that doesn’t create a smoky byproduct, rather than one that does create a lot of smoke. Also, given a choice of a resource for which we must fight wars to obtain, and one for which we don’t have to fight and kill, which should we choose?
The ability and the desire to improve the Earth and ourselves is what makes us human, and that is why we make efforts toward a better and more sustainable future. We do so because we are blessed to be here, so in the time I have, I am going to attempt to better myself and my surroundings. Our kids book apps are a direct attempt to educate our generation and generations to come in what behavior works and what doesn’t so we can look toward a healthy and abundant future for all.
2. Haven’t scientists proved that global warming is going to cause catastrophe, probably sometime soon?
Apparently they have, but fortunately, I am not a scientist. For me, just because a scientist said it, isn’t enough. I’m sure they are onto something, but no one knows everything. Humans simply do not and cannot know all. The fate of our planet and Universe is a pretty big topic, and I only trust that one power really knows what is going to happen with it.
It’s true that the average temperature is going up. There have been more ‘freak’ occurrences in the weather lately than we’ve ever seen before. However, since we only started recording weather data on a regular basis in the mid 19th century, how do we know that the temperature wasn’t as hot or hotter, or that there weren’t twice as many, or ten times as many freak weather occurrences in the year 1512, 1312, 812, 512, or just 12? We don’t. The scientists that are working on this are smart people who are no doubt doing their best, but all of their findings point to catastrophes and fear, and I believe that it is okay to doubt that and refuse to feel the fear. What I believe in is protecting the Earth and treating it with respect because it is so awesome, and because we love it so much. Maybe there are some that think that this kind of fear is the only thing that will motivate people, but I don’t. I believe in creating a better future using green energy, technology, waste disposal processes and sustainable practices because it shows love and respect for this incredible planet with which we’ve been blessed, not because I am afraid, and I’m sticking to that.
I believe in creating a better future using green energy, technology, waste disposal processes and sustainable practices because it shows love and respect for this incredible planet with which we’ve been blessed, not because I’m afraid, and I’m sticking to that.
3. Are we suggesting that someone has to believe that our future is bright?
Yes. That is exactly what I am suggesting. If everyone believes that we are on the verge of a fiery and watery apocalypse, then what hope do we have of a flowery and fantastic future? The headlines are packed with terrible things to come, so someone needs to start sounding the siren of a sensational future. I’m happy to join in that charge, and would be most honored to lead it.
And it’s not just me. Works like the book ‘Abundance’ by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler look ahead with only optimism and faith that we are on the verge of a great world the likes of which have rarely been imagined. Their focus is not as much on the environment as it is on the ability of technology to improve the human situation, but they still write only with hope and optimism.
Thinkers like Marshall Thurber of the Global Evolutionary Network are taking a completely hopeful view of the future. He postulates a ‘creation instead of competition’ attitude that is emerging, rather than the typical ‘your win is my loss’ mindset that we’ve become accustomed to in the past.
Even former President Bill Clinton has a recent article in Time magazine that makes a case for optimism, with 5 concrete areas that he’s personally experienced dramatic shifts forward that point to a brighter future. He writes,
…I firmly believe that progress changes consciousness, and when you change people’s consciousness, then their awareness of what is possible changes as well–a virtuous circle. So it’s important that the word gets out, that people realize what’s working. That where there’s been creative cooperation coupled with a communitarian view of our future, we’re seeing real success.
This optimistic thinking is our point. If a wonderful, healthy, happy world is never imagined, it will surely never be. If we all collectively believe that the world is going to come to a catastrophic end, well, then it just might. Improvement and sustainability are ideals to work toward because we’ve been blessed with the mental faculties to imagine them. We seek to improve ourselves and the Earth because we are lucky enough to wake up here in the morning, not because of fear. Fear is a horrible reason for motivation. In fact, besides its usefulness in signaling imminent danger to life and limb (we should be afraid to swim in bloody water with great white sharks), fear is the worst reason to do anything.