So far I have been writing about the climate crisis primarily as a threat, an extinction level threat for the human species. But the climate crisis is also humanity’s biggest opportunity. It is our opportunity to leave the Industrial Age behind and enter the Knowledge Age (that’s the term I use in my book World After Capital).
Expect a series of blog posts expanding on this idea, but to start things off I want to paint a picture of what that might look like:
I imagine clean air and quiet cities with lot of public transport options — serviced by electric vehicles on dynamically optimized routes.
I imagine a dramatic reduction in agricultural land use with huge areas freed up for biodiversity — enabled by a move to vertical farming right where food is consumed
I imagine reliable access drinking water anywhere in the world — through massive improvements in desalination and waste water treatment
I imagine abundant energy — powered by nuclear fusion
I imagine people finding their purpose in contributing to science, art, friends and family, community — freed from drudgery by automation
How would be get there? We would have to be willing to dramatically retool our economies. It turns out that we have done that before. Most recently we did it during World War II. The mobilization of resources during that time in the singular pursuit of winning the war was extraordinary, including recruiting the most brilliant minds to work on crucial problems.
Leaders all around the world could rally behind such a vision. And just as with World War II, we can pay for it all as this simultaneously represents the biggest stimulus program for the economy. The Green New Deal is the closest we have at the moment to such a program but it is not yet sufficiently ambitious in its scope and vision.