Have you ever wondered how our future will look? Not exactly my future but our children’s and grandchildren’s future. And not the doom and gloom one but the future of a terrifyingly adaptable species – the Homo sapiens. Us.
I only have two predictions that have arrived whole in my head.
Soon – we will be paying our restaurant bill with our phones. Maybe through PayPal or something. No cards. Just a bill to the phone – hit a few buttons and bam- paid. This is so obvious I am sure it is already being done somewhere.
But my long term prediction is that villages and cities will become more self contained more self sufficient energy wise. They will close their gates like medieval castles and casting off massive government will become smaller and more self sufficient. With their own renewable energy and water and food.
Let’s look at 150 years down the road – not long. There will be little or no oil. Municipal Water will be severely regulated. Households will collect and make their own water probably using household units that draw water from the humid air and purify it for drinking. The weather will be wilder for a while as the climate recalibrates so our houses will have less glass, more shutters, air locks in doorways. We will have gone through the horror of massive overpopulation and untreatable disease and through the dreadful food and water shortages period. Probably a world wide unstoppable flu epidemic. The seas will be empty of fish and full of plastic.
We will be remembered as the richest century. The century of oil and squander and superbugs. Already here in America more people die of untreatable infections than Aids. Squandering oil, and penicillin, and time. Remember that the Roman Empire foundered because – among other things: like greedy leaders- they depended on wood for everything and chopped down more trees than they planted. We will be renamed the deniers and bickerers.
But let’s leap frog through that to the recovery period. This is my favorite period.
The beginning of the new world. The cities will not have adapted They will adapted by dividing and refinding their inner village. Sone areas will become storehouses of recyclable stuff. Small villages will rise up within the cities because the villages and towns will have done so much better. Rural towns will have become totally self sufficient both for sustainable energy and cleanable water. Almost principalities. People will have to apply to live in a certain town. Their skills will be more important than the money to buy their way in. Each town will have its own power source. It’s own farms. It’s own government. It’s own industry for barter. Maybe even its own currency. Each town will be known for its particular talent. Like roofers or water filterers or inventors.
The roads will be lined with fruit trees that are watered with processed grey water, everyone will have a vegetable garden and the pigs will be fed with food waste collected from each home. The milk will come into town twice a day on the back of an electric wagon and people will buy a ladle full.
There will be a big house or two – massive houses that house the industry of the town – like weaving or writing or blacksmithing and employ many people. These houses will have big bread ovens and the whole village will use them. There will be a local mill. And a school in the daytime with books.
There will be few towns in the desert. Or out here in the frozen tundra. Though there will be nomadic peoples who summer ( or winter) in these spaces then migrate with the birds.
I would not be here in the future – there is no wood for fires to cook and keep warm. So I must keep working on planting my forests for the next peoples. So this can return to beautiful wilderness.
No oil which means no waste. No plastic. There will be collection industries making new stuff from found stuff. To have built an entire civilization on the dependence of a non renewable resource like oil will be looked back on as a bit silly. Power will be sun or wind and managed by the village or family farm- but it will be inclement and dependent on climate so being difficult to store it will be intermittent.
It will be an interesting world in 150 years – rising up through the bones of this one.
It is our job to lay good foundations for our future peoples. We need to leave treasures for the flu survivors. Simple things. Troves of seeds, forests, paper books of useful technology, metal, good tools. Clean water. Strong well – bred animals who can reproduce without intervention. Strong houses that will last centuries. Barrels.
What else shall we work on?
In fact we need to decide right now what will survive for 100 years and what they will need in 100 years or 200 years and begin to build these things and store this knowledge in a way that the next generations can retrieve it.
Imagine – no internet- no oil – less water – less travel – no wonder medicines. It will be spare and tribal. But more different than I can imagine.
What will be important for our future peoples? These ones who band together to feed and fuel a village or a farm. How can we help our children to survive and thrive in the new world that is coming.
What shall we leave for them. Anyway that is what I am thinking about.
What are your thoughts? The positive ones – we have had enough of doom and gloom. Let’s get busy on feeding the future.