Resistance to completely new solutions that simultaneously require eliminating outdated things is more common and institutionalized than ever. We do feel the need for change, but at the same time, we are wary of an unknown future that revolves around solving problems that you cannot reasonably foresee now.
Breaking through this requires imagining a sustainable and equitable future where agriculture and nature go hand in hand. Imagining what green and inclusive cities look like when there are fewer cars. And one that is also affordable because more sustainable is ultimately cheaper.
The Dutch College of State Advisors has understood this. It explores the long term to come up with concrete measures for the short term that will stand the test of time. In a Future Workshop, they look 100 years ahead for this purpose. The PBL (Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency) uses the same strategy, although it looks a slightly more modest 27 years ahead to what the Netherlands will look like in 2050.
They outline four scenarios:
- 1. A Global Entrepreneurial Netherlands in which large companies have the lead
- 2. A Fast World: in which further increased digitalization makes distances disappear
- 3. A Green Country: with plenty of space for nature
- 4. A Regionally Rooted Netherlands in which citizens take the initiative in their living environment.
It is not hard to imagine that it will be a combination of all this and none of this. Ending up in a world in which we will undoubtedly be overtaken by an unpredictable reality.
It is tempting to take a shot anyway. In 100 years, no one will make a decision. Nobody is working anymore anyway. Old age turned out to be a curable disease. Mankind is simply a biological machine that can be reproduced just fine and whose spare parts can be created endlessly. Controlled by a biological computer whose hard disk can be copied and programmed. The building plan -our DNA- can be tweaked at will. Suddenly, french fries do not make you fat and are even healthy. You can eat whatever you want.
Energy is free. At “birth,” everyone gets a battery implant with enough energy for life. Digital care friends, quantum computers, VR, AI, and a basic income make us carefree and dispensable.
Only we didn’t get that environment under control. Humanity turned out to be a temporary phenomenon.
A few still survive on mounds.