We have overcome adversity in the past by imagining alternative realities and using our human agencies to bring them to fruition. This is what we must do now. We must envision the future we want — thoroughly, intricately — so that we can tether our minds and our hearts towards making it a reality. There are 8 billion people on this planet, each living in different circumstances, and the specifics of this vision will look different for each of us. But based on the nature of our planet, life, and humanity, and the solutions I’ve laid out throughout this piece, here is a snippet of my vision of a sustainable, prosperous future.
Humanity has learned how to globally coordinate under a shared sense of identity — under remembering that we are a part of an interconnected biosphere, an unprecedented, creative, engineering part. While culture, context and individual journeys vary across the globe, we all share the mutual fundamental purpose of protecting and fostering life. We realize how miraculous organisms are, and foster their growth by keeping our planet healthy. We feel miraculous because of our humanity — our imaginations, our music, our art, our innovations, our connections, our emotions, our ideas.
We are deeply connected to our environment, working intricately with other species and with our habitats to develop truly intelligent, nuanced systems that serve both humanity and the ecosystems we are a part of. Our technologies are sustainable and regenerate rather exploit natural resources. We use different forms of life as inspiration for design. Our economies acknowledge the finitude of Earth’s geometry, and keep our people and planet healthy. We successfully regenerate and keep our environments balanced by being in tune with the principles of the biosphere and its resilience.
More forms of life are present in our urban settings, trees winding along sidewalks, flora fronting doorsteps and windowsills, parks interspersed regularly throughout cities. We build roads following the natural landscape, and acknowledge important ecological sites and patterns in our city layouts. Green roofs and walls and solar panels are around every corner.
And our society, including its systems and structures, is flexible and resilient, able to adapt to planetary fluxes with nuanced technique. Our technologies and infrastructure are advanced enough to listen and respond to environmental changes. We have governments, organizations and communities that work smoothly across difference and have the skills to meet challenges readily, creatively, and with specificity. And we as individuals embrace change as an opportunity for growth, rather than fear it.
In immersing ourselves in the true nature of life and Earth, mimicking strategies well tested by evolution, and coming together under our common humanity, we are able to harness an incredibly powerful, articulate way of being.
More so, we do not just appreciate the abundant natural beauty around us, we identify with it. There is no distinction between nature and humanity. Earth is a magnificent, complex, vigorous product of the universe, aging into its sentience, and we, along with the rest of life, are Earth.
We embrace diversity. Humans from different backgrounds, races and ethnicities turn towards each other, eager to unleash the potential from their differences. Our leaders are representative of the many types of people composing our societies, and share a fluid, equitable sense of power — one based on acknowledging individuals’ strengths and responding to the challenges at hand with innovative, situationally specific delegations of responsibility. Power is a shared, transferable tool used to help us effectively adapt to challenge. Not something we hoard.
We can achieve this dynamic, equitable leadership style not just because we mutually respect and value one another, but because we have strong relationships. We cultivate emotional connection as a critical element of survival, and work to incorporate it in more than just our personal lives, but in our different forms of organization. Our society is built on trust and connection as opposed to competition, and we are stronger because of it.
And through our deeper connections, we remember our divisive pasts, honoring our collective pain and those who have died at the hands of oppression. We struggle with a multitude of “wicked”[i] environmental and social crises, we face immense challenges, loss, grief, and fear as our physical world changes, but we do it together. And it doesn’t swallow us whole, but rather opens us up to a vivid pallet of experience, a richer quality of life. One that is equally thrilling, eye-opening, playful, and fulfilling. Our vitality, our connections and our confidence in our capacity to cope and generate solutions, carry us forward.
We thus no longer operate on competition, and have loosened our ties with our self-destructive, individualistic social constructs.
By recognizing that the biosphere is working with us, not against us, we have outgrown our greed, obsession with order, and lack of trust.
We feel supported by this magnificent, prolific world, and are able to dive into what it really means to be alive — living not to get ahead
of one another, but to explore the beauty of being a creative, collaborative human.
And as such, everyone feels like they have a place in this world, as well as an impact and
a responsibility to keep it healthy. We each take ownership of humanity and the legacy of life.
We live for and with each other, in honor of Earth.
[i] Walls, H.L. “Wicked problems and a ‘wicked’ solution.” H.L. Walls, 2018, p. 34. Global Health 14.