Thursday, April 11, 2013

Advice For A Changing World

This is a very good book - - 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years by Jorgen Randers.  Sobering but realistic, the importance of the book lies in getting engineers to start thinking about the future.  None of the forecasts could come true, but many fall into the 50/50 category that will require careful thought and deliberation as to a course of action over the next 40-years.  Resource constraints, population growth, climate change, and extreme weather events all add additional risk and uncertainty to this new 50/50 future.  Picking the wrong path or mis-managing a coin toss further reduces the economic, environmental, and social operating space as we approach 2052.

Based on the ideas presented in the book, Randers came up with his list of twenty pieces of personal advice looking 40-years into the future:

  1. Focus on Satisfaction Rather Than Income.
  2. Do Not Acquire a Taste for Things That Will Disappear.
  3. Invest in Great Electronic Entertainment and Learn to Prefer It.
  4. Don't Teach Your Children to Love the Wilderness.
  5. If You Like Great Biodiversity, Go See It Now.
  6. Visit World Attractions before They Are Ruined by the Crowd.
  7. Live in a Place That Is Not Overly Exposed to Climate Change.
  8. Move to a Country That Is Capable of Decision Making.
  9. Know the Unsustainabilities That Threaten Your Quality of Life.
  10. If You Can't Stand a Job in Services or Care, Go into Energy Efficiency or Renewables.
  11. Encourage Your Children to Learn Mandarin.
  12. Stop Believing That All Growth Is Good.
  13. Remember That Your Fossil-Based Assets - Suddenly One Day - Will Lose Their Value.
  14. Invest in Things That Are Not Sensitive to Social Unrest.
  15. Do More Than Your Fair Share - to Avoid a Bad Conscience in the Future.
  16. In Business, Explore the Business Potential in Current Unsustainabilties.
  17. In Business, Don't Confuse Growth in Volume with Growth in Profits.
  18. In Politics, If You Want Reelection, Support Only Initiatives with Short-Term Benefits.
  19. In Politics, Remember That the Future Will Be Dominated by Physical Limits.
  20. In Politics, Accept That Equal Access to Limited Resources Will Trump Free Speech.

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