In the year 2050 I will turn 78 years old.
I hope to be in good health, still physically active, of sound intellect and with family and friends a strong focus of my daily life. If I’m lucky, all those options will still be within my grasp, accessed via my personal choices.
But will these choices be available to me by then? What sort of external challenges will I face in my world by 2050? What will the main economic drivers? How will people live together, communicate, work stuff out? What environmental pressures will we feel – will land, water, green space, clean air, fresh food be plentiful or only available to some?
These are all important questions, and the subject of a new book launched today from The Australian Academy of Science.
Negotiating our future: Living scenarios for Australia to 2050 proposes tools and approaches to ensure Australia’s social, economic and environmental sustainability to 2050 and beyond. The book sets out approaches for the whole of society to work together to determine what a future Australia will look like, and how to get there. It includes tools for approaching sustainability from a range of perspectives, including:
- Resilience in the face of shocks;
- Climate change and energy pressures;
- Population issues;
- Economic uncertainties; and
- Social justice and equity.
Futurist and Bridge8 Founder/Managing Director Kristin Alford – with whom I used to work and enjoy many a morning coffee – was lead author on Chapter 3: Social perspectives on sustainability and equity in Australia (available for download here).
I asked Kristin why the release of this book was so exciting. Her answer suggested that a consideration of the future required starting with thinking about the present:
“We need to have a conversation about the future for Australia.
This book draws on an considerable effort by cross-disciplinary researchers to map out the present, and to think about how we might find pathways to a desired future.
It kicks off a conversation that we need to have – how do we live? How do we create environmentally sustainable and socially equitable futures?”
How do you think about your future? Will it be just an older you, living in the same world you see now? If you think not, perhaps you could play a role in creating, or at the very least anticipating, the kind of future which is most likely. The book, and its companion volume, are available for free here.