The world in 100 years’ time – or at least the world of 2100 – is one that our children, but certainly their children, can still experience. It is closer to us than we might think… and we should therefore have the greatest interest in making it worth living in. I would love to imagine positive visions of the future, but this is almost impossible at the moment, because the dystopian, negative developments are much more likely.
Because the global efforts to slow down climate change are far from sufficient.
At the moment everything indicates that in 100 years humanity will have to live in a world that is on average three degrees warmer. Droughts and crop failures will increase enormously in many places, as will storms and torrential rainfall. The rainforests are already being cleared at breathtaking speed for arable land, herds of cattle, soya and palm oil. Virtually all coral reefs – the rainforests of the sea – are under acute threat, and the oceans will soon contain more plastic than fish. More than one million animal and plant species are on the verge of extinction in the coming decades. And pandemics, in which pathogens jump from animals to humans, are a direct consequence of our unchecked expansion drive.
In a world like this, in which eleven, maybe even twelve billion people will live in 100 years, there must be gigantic migratory movements – because often no agriculture will be possible any more, and many coastal regions will literally sink into the sea.
It is hard to imagine that such upheavals could take place without violent conflicts. But to make one thing clear: It is not primarily a matter of saving the earth or nature, because “life always finds a way” – even if mass deaths occur. No, it is about saving our civilization. It is about a dignified life for our children and grandchildren!
All is not yet lost.
I think we still have a chance. The 2020s may be our last chance to turn the wheel. A lot of people are feeling this. More and more young people are determined to do better and to work towards a future worth living. Researchers and entrepreneurs are developing a lot of innovations, such as garbage collectors for oceans, hyperloops and electric planes, vertical farms and artificial photosynthesis for electricity and biofuels. They grow organs in 3D printers, grow artificial meat in bioreactors, and accelerate biological evolution to break down toxins and plastics. What’s more, modeled on the human brain, they let machines learn how to produce high-performance materials and medicines, optimize energy systems in an environmentally friendly way, reduce the consumption of resources and transform the entire industrial production process into a sustainable recycling economy.
Basically, I am convinced that inventiveness and wise action are capable of overcoming even the greatest hurdles – and hopefully also the narrow-mindedness and egoism of those people who stand in the way of a world worth living in.
Humanity has so far overcome even the darkest times. Perhaps we still have a chance for a future not against, but in harmony with nature!
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