As Americans await a Supreme Court decision on the health insurance reform bill of a couple of years ago, Kaiser Health News publishes a 4-page cartoon: a letter to the Court about what it’s like in the individual insurance market. For example, in my small business case, our rates have gone up by 200% since the year 2000. So I relate to this cartoonist, Jen Sorensen. Continue to the Kaiser site for the full story…
This week I began a new book, The Social Conquest of Earth, by E.O. Wilson. Not surprisingly I find it quite mind expanding, marking up nearly every page, as few writers get to the essence of things like Mr. Wilson. His question in this book is, where did humanity come from, what are we, and where are we going? This is not unlike the question that I use in Futurist.com vision work with enterprises – where have you come from, where do you want to go and why do you want to go there?
To whet your appetite for this book, here are two money quotes from just the first couple of sections…
Humanity today is like a waking dreamer, caught between the fantasies of sleep and the chaos of the real world. The mind seeks but cannot find the precise place and hour. We have created a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology. We thrash about. We are terribly confused by the mere fact of our existence, and a danger to ourselves and to the rest of life.
I will propose that scientific advances, especially those made during the last two decades, are now sufficient for us to address in a coherent manner the questions of where we came from and what we are. To do so, however, we need answers to two even more fundamental questions the query has raised. The first is why advanced social life exists at all, and has occurred so rarely in the history of life. The second is the identity of the driving forces that brought it into being.
At the annual Future In Review conference, one of the most interesting presentations was that by Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, reviewing their future of energy study that was chronicled in their report and book, Reinventing Fire. In brief, Amory explained in his dispassionate, engineering style, that it is possible to grow the U.S. economy by 158% by 2050, while completely phasing out the use of oil, coal and nuclear power, keeping the amount of natural gas we use steady, and relying instead on renewable energy and distributed grids using no newly invented technology. This could be done at a savings, according to the RMI study, of $5 Trillion. Below is an infographic created by RMI that sums up their scenario for how such a future will be created. The question is, is this a possible or a probable future?
I recently came across a series of articles by Future Cape Town, a media movement and urban consultancy founded by Rashiq Fataar in 2010.
The beginning of the About page on the Future Cape Town website starts “With our roots firmly in the present, and eyes on the full potential of the city we live, play and work in, Future Cape Town is a diverse collection of minds that are driven by sustainable and innovative ways to address modern urban design challenges.” Awesome. This is a group that is actually creating the future they want.
Future Cape Town invests a lot in its social media. They realize the importance of ideas being easily communicated and the value of viral information. An example of this is the article 7 Big Ideas for Cape Town: Who Will Champion Them?. Inviting participants with its title, this article gives detailed information about 7 great ideas for creating a better city.
Why aren’t we all throwing out detailed ideas about how to improve our cities? Better yet, why aren’t we getting involved in implementing those ideas in our own neighborhoods?