Every day I feel a kind of buzz, a hum, a tension and underlying sense of expectation that permeates my daily life. I feel like I’m waiting for something. In fact, I think I’ve always felt like this. When I was a kid I thought I was waiting to grow up. Now I’m 20 I realise I’m not waiting to grow up, I’m waiting for the world to change. I feel like there’s some huge shift, some global revolution – brewing, bubbling, about to explode. I feel like something very exciting is about to happen on the world stage, and me and the rest of my generation booked front row seats.
If you think I’m being fanciful, then let me clarify that I’m not certain that this will be a good thing. I hope it will be a good thing, but I don’t know for sure. All I know is that the world is going to change dramatically during my lifetime.
The climate is changing. Fossil fuels are getting increasingly costly and will soon be completely uneconomic to use. The global population is growing, and will be 9 billion within a few decades. The financial systems are unstable, and crashes like the one in 2008 are likely to populate the future. And people are angry. The 99% are getting increasingly fed up with austerity, wars, tax-avoidance scandals, lack of decent jobs, and the relentless shallow and meaningless consumption that’s supposed to keep us happy and docile. Marx said that capitalism would eventually destroy itself as the gulf between rich and poor got wider and wider, to the extent that the marginalised underclass would revolt. A bloody civil war is not my idea of a positive solution. But these days ‘revolution’ can be a little more civilised. The Industrial Revolution and the Information Revolution changed the world, and they didn’t require any sharpening of pitchforks.
Whether we are prepared for it or not, the near-future is going to be characterized by less resources (especially energy), a less hospitable climate and a lot more people.
But we can deal with this, if we act as a species. There are already amazing people, organizations, communities and ideas that are the pioneers of the revolution I can feel bubbling beneath the surface. Permaculture, steady state economics, the Transition movement, social enterprise, renewable energy, urban agriculture, earth democracy, collaborative consumption, eco-tourism, blogging, cradle-to-cradle design, triple-bottom-line accounting, co-operatives, bio-mimicry… It’s happening. The future is already sprouting and it’s growing by the day, getting ready to take over as the old system crumbles.
And it will crumble, because it’s based on the impossible.
You cannot have indefinite economic growth on a finite planet.
It’s not implausible that we will change – it’s a certainty. The rule of nature is ‘evolve or die’ and I don’t think we’re quite done yet. Humans are good at surviving. If we can survive an ice age then I think we can survive this.
So get ready everyone. Whether it’s a car crash or a firework display, one thing’s for certain.
It’s gonna be one hell of a show.