Looking back from 2050

Looking back from 2050

write a short story that responds to this prompt Topic Looking Back From 2050 This is an exercise in “backcasting.” Here’s a quote from a Wikipedia article about this technique: Backcasting starts with defining a desirable future and then works backward to identify policies and programs that will connect the future to the present. The fundamental question of backcasting asks: “if we want to attain a certain goal, what actions must be taken to get there?” Forecasting is the process of predicting the future based on current trend analysis. Backcasting approaches the challenge of discussing the future from the opposite direction. “… A method in which the future desired conditions are envisioned and steps are then defined to attain those conditions, rather than taking steps that are merely a continuation of present methods extrapolated into the future.” There’s no “right or wrong answer” to this exercise. It’s about envisioning and storytelling. But it’s also about thinking through a plausible and pragmatic story, one that both feels “true” to you- and that you would like to help fulfill. —– Please envision that it is the year 2050. Humanity has faced several challenging and difficult decades and there are still monumental challenges ahead. There have been serious climate-related challenges, numerous extinctions and disruptions of natural habitat, and sometimes-serious disruptions of supplies of food, water, fuels, wood, and minerals. Significant numbers of people are “environmental refugees,” forced to migrate because of adverse environmental conditions in their homelands. These challenges have sometimes triggered economic disruptions and tensions between nations, sometimes flaring into military conflict. But: there is a growing sense among humanity that the worst is over. We have begun a worldwide transition to a sustainable civilization, in which the basic necessities and decencies of a fulfilling life are available to everyone – all 9 billion of us – without the need to continuously erode the natural systems on which humanity depends. We’re easing down to a “One-Planet” ecological footprint. We can foresee the end of the fossil-fuel era, and we’ve managed to keep greenhouse-gas levels below thresholds that would lead to catastrophic tipping points. A lot of effort will be needed for adaptation to a warming world, but as one analyst put it, we have learned to “manage the unavoidable and avoid the unmanageable.” Worldwide, people are innovating the way we plan and build cities, construct buildings and infrastructure, transport ourselves, grow food, obtain and use material resources, water, and energy, process sewage and other “waste” products, design and use products, and divide our time among education, leisure, travel, family life, and earning a living. An older person, someone alive at the dawn of the 21st century, is telling some young people a story of how this happened. This elder won’t know the whole story of course, but they can recount their recollections of key events, their perceptions at various times, how their own living habits and profession changed, the new things they learned along the way. Please be that elder and tell that story, as best you can.

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