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16 reasons to be cheerful:

1. The public has long been ahead of politicians in recognising the danger of toxic emissions and will remain the driving force in rescuing the future. Everyone on Earth can play a role, irrespective of age, income or clout. Such a challenge can be strangely empowering, like the Blitz Spirit. (The wrecking of nature is more of a threat than the Luftwaffe). The outcome will redefine what it means to be human.

2. Shopping will cease to enthral. Buy Nothing Day has evolved to Buy Nothing Month. Recovering shopaholics are exchanging pledges to abstain. Some families refuse to buy anything new until something old is given away. But every so often a bright idea will win hearts, such the latest 100% biodegradable, solar powered, I-Pod charging, naturally dyed hemp handbag. (See below for related links).

3. No longer master of the universe, the “economy” will be its servant. Today's hi-flyers in Ferraris will get mud on their Armani's, as they plant acres of fruit trees and turn weeds into diesel. A new economics promotes the “good life without money stress, overwork and joyless consumption.” The bean counters will lose their status, unless the beans are certified organic and fairly traded. You will be able to discuss communes, creativity and consciousness with you bank manager.


4. To think and act both locally and globally will become second nature. Already there is a push for a Global Marshall Plan to restore the environment and to close the poverty gap. In the face of an array of threats, people are asking what can we do for our planet … and for our own community (growers markets are more fun than supermarkets). Today's passive spectators are tomorrow's activists.

5. Failing to own a house with a water view is no longer a matter of regret.

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6. The urgency of global repair will unleash a boom of innovation and imagination that will dwarf the Renaissance. Tomorrow is about connecting, collaborating, creating. Solutions depend less on finding a Leonardo or an Einstein than on motivating millions of thinkers, dreamers, inventors.

7. Wind surfers will achieve terrifying speeds.

8. The quest for carbon neutrality will transform the built environment. Architects have abolished the need for air conditioning by copying the airflows of termitaries. How did train manufacturers in Japan put an end to the sonic booms caused by engines when entering tunnels? By imitating the design of a Kingfisher's beak. Bio-mimicry is more profitable than bio-rape.

9. New kinds of leaders will emerge. The left/right dichotomy will be transcended by a global mind shift, incorporating intellectual fluidity, empathy, adaptability, foresight. Farewell to actor-politicians mouthing platitudes while secretly colluding with lobbyists. (And Farewell to so-called “intellectuals” who write about global warming but never have time to sort their own garbage - Mrs Neville. RN: Rubbish!).

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10. The boom in renewable energy will ease the West's addiction to oil and its need to pillage the Middle East. When the human and environmental cost of war is fully revealed, there will be widespread revulsion. Politicians who promote invasions will be run out of town. Tanks will be turned into ploughshares and the only valid mission of tomorrow's military will be to repair the ecosystem.

11. Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib , Bagram, etc, will be re-tooled as renewable energy factories, the labour provided by former war criminals.

12. Fast food will slow down. Vegetarianism will globalise. Obesity will decline.

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Richard Neville has been a practicing futurist since 1963, when he launched the countercultural magazine, Oz, which widened the boundaries of free speech on two continents. He has written several books, including Playpower (71), the bio of a global (more...)

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