One of the biggest challenges in concocting an optimistic near-future setting is just figuring out how we're going to solve the environmental and economic challenges we're facing. Peak oil. Climate change. And so on. So reading Australian professor Peter C. Doherty's optimistic history of the world, as of 2050, is like soaking your brain into a nice warm bath. It turns out we're going to use biopolymers and new, super-efficient solar power derived from copying the natural processes of ocean life to solve all our fossil fuel problems. And everybody's going to come together and agree to play nice. That's a relief. [The Conversation]
Sadly, it's not the technological hurdles that are the real problem. It's the massive social upheavals that we are bound to face as post-peak oil hits, the logistics of replacing a global energy infrastucture with a whole new one, and working out of how we even make a start on all this work with a broken and corrupted economic system.
The idea of "responsible heads of major companies, institutions and governments" coming together in common purpose to address anthropogenic climate change sounds like as much of a baseless fantasy as, well, the entire humanist movement.
Sorry, was reading John Gray all weekend. And it's Monday, not a good day for optimism.