Monday, 11 July 2011

When my son is 20

I often wonder about what the world is going to be like in 20 odd years.

This is the future right now. It's not the flying car, and robot servant future that Hollywood had predicted. But it is the future. Think about it. Imagine telling someone in the 80's this. "We have personal phones that can fit in our pockets. They have touch screens and can surf the internet." Inter-what?! "They can also record a T.V. show at home, and email." E-mail? "Oh yeah, and they have a video camera and can take pictures." "I can also store up to 32gigs of music on it." What the fuck is a gig?!

And this is just talking about the phone. Think of all the other marvels of science. We have discovered planets outside our own solar system. Hundreds of them! In 2006, researchers developed materials that can bend light around objects and shield them from view. Such as invisibility cloaks. Genome mapping, cloning, commercial space flight, ipads, netflix,...I'm sure there's more important advances other than the one's I can find at Best Buy, but I can't think of them. Then there's 2 teeny tiny problems. Climate change, and peak oil.

Now, I'm still not sure sure where on the climate change see-saw I sit, but it's leaning more to the side of "It's happening". I pollute as little as humanly possible, and recycle whatever I can. Even if the climate doesn't completely go off the charts and fuck up the order of the world, and we all parish or drown. I would still like to have a clean planet for my son to live on. I don't idle, and I pick up garbage when I see it. There's nothing wrong with using solar panels to heat your house. Even if it didn't help reduce pollution, it's still saving you some cash. Which is pretty cool. If cash is even worth anything in 20 years.

When a country or province starts digging up sand that has oil in it, you know there isn't much left. Now I know, I drive a truck that consumes gas. I'm a horrible person. But so are you. Everything that we use in our daily life has petroleum in it. The very keyboard that I use to type this post was made from it. Your shoes, your Starbucks coffee lid, your television remote, your sunglasses, your bike tires, your kids toys. So, when the world runs so low on oil, what's going to happen? Will we have measures in place to continue on? And by "we", I mean "other people", 'cause I'm sure as hell not smart enough. Or, will we be forced to go back to simpler times. Where we grow our own food, and get our own water. That would be cool, but what about all the millions that live in metropolis'? It's kind of an eerie thought, but quite frankly it's the truth. As a driving instructor, it's my job to teach these kids about fuel economy. How to drive their cars to the best they can to be not only safe, but fuel efficient. I'm surprised by the amount of them that think we are moving to Hydrogen fuel cell cars with out thinking how it can happen.
One girl even said they were inventing a car that can run on water. Yeah, it's called "Steam", and it doesn't work very well for pushing cars. She said something along the lines of hydrogen and water being the same thing. I'm pretty sure you don't pour water in a tank, and fuel a vehicle with it. I do know that Hydrogen fueled vehicles emit drinkable water. I'm sure that's what she meant. I then ask them, other than gas, what else does petroleum make? "Uhhh, plastic?" Yes, and what do you know, that is made with plastic? "Oh, Shit. Everything."

So back to my post title, "When my son is 20"
What will the world be like?
Here's what I think.
  • The personal car will be on it's way to becoming a very rare thing. 99% of people will get around by mass transit. Probably electric train or something. Your kids friend will have a cousin who knows someone who has a car, but it doesn't run of course.
  • Food will be very expensive. You would be wise to grow your own, maybe even have a few animals.
  • Currency might just be credits, or even gold. (Do you notice a lot of "Dollars for Gold" commercials lately?)
  • What was made from plastics will be made from a plant based material.
  • Life will be simpler, yet technology will be unfathomable.

Now of course, I could be way off. 20 years isn't that far away. But we are as a planet and society growing and changing at an exponential rate. 20 years may be all we need to see these changes happen. All I can do is teach my son to think for himself, make his own decisions. To be kind to others and plan ahead.

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