A Positive Outlook on the 2050 Extinction Report

Last week we saw the release of Existential Climate-Related Security Risk: A Scenario Approach by David Spatt and Ian Dunlop, which projected a world-wide catastrophic scenario by 2050. Much of the media has reported that the world will end in 2050 based on this report. Though the report does paint a bleak picture if actions are not taken, I see a more optimistic picture for humanity and global-consciousness.

I’m a firm believer that we as a race are evolving for the better. We often find that global consciousness evolves around events that impact humanity on the global scale. Think World War II and the end of the cold war with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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Take a look at news stories around single-use plastics. There are is a lot of outrage and negative news around the garbage patches in the oceans the impacts it’s having on wildlife, but for the first time, we are seeing major shifts in legislation and global awareness of the issue of a throwaway world.

That doesn’t mean that everyone is aware, I still witness people throwing trash on the road and waterways, but education and awareness are happening. Much like issues of racism, gender equality, and LGBTQ equality advances are being made, but it often takes multiple generations for it to become the norm and the societal standard.

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I remember in the early ’90s having recycling introduced to me in school. My family had to go out of our way to recycle. There was no community pick up. Now it’s hard to find a community, that hasn’t made recycling programs, not just convenient, but in some cases mandatory. In the communities that don’t have programs you often find citizens lobbying for one. In addition to community recycling programs we have also seen an increase in what can be recycled.

Further evidence that this shift is happening is in the rise of a sustainable, renewable energy industry. We’ve seen more advances in technologies as well as an affordable and convenient consumer good industry over the last few years than ever in our history.

It isn’t all good-vibes, we as people still have a way to go, but the awareness is growing, individuals and businesses are rising to the challenge. As awareness grows and generations advance we have a real chance at an incredible and more conscious future. One of my favorite things about this idea is the fulfillment of the science fiction idea of a fully recycled society. Take Futurama – A Big Piece of Garbage.

Leela We recycle everything. Robots are made out of old beer cans.
Bender Yeah, and this beer can is made out of old robots.
Leela And that sandwich you're eating is made out of old, discarded sandwiches. Nothing just gets thrown away.
Fry The future is disgusting!

On another light note, I’m sure we can look forward to a Day After Tomorrow reboot called 2050, hopefully starting Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

The Day After Tomorrow Movie poster

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