Friday, January 25, 2013

The Future by Al Gore

Al Gore is often laughed at by Republicans who think science is just leftist propaganda, but his book THE FUTURE examines six drivers of global change that go beyond planetary warming to include visionary predictions about technology, communications, business and the economy, politics, and unsustainable growth, populations included. It is a wakeup call to those who naively think that the status quo will continue much longer, giving evidence to the contrary. Narrated by Gore himself, whose tone is straightforward and without rancor, the audiobook nonetheless delivers multiple body blows to the lazy assumptions of a TV viewing public. Not only is change coming whether we want it to or not (and we don't), the future will be radically different than it is today, and technology cannot save us from it unless we move in the opposite direction willingly today. Populations are increasing rapidly in the poorest countries, while developing countries are using ever larger amounts of dwindling resources that are becoming dirtier and more expensive. Lagos, Nigeria, a city whose unemployed youth spams Americans with internet scams, is due to contain 19 million people by 2025. Rapid urbanization worldwide will result in higher crime rates, civil unrest, and starvation. Meat consumption is increasing at the time when topsoils are being lost and the extra grains needed to support meat production are withering in unprecedented droughts due to climate change. Developed peoples are getting fatter and sicker as a result, while the numbers of the poorest people rises exponentially. Corporate lobbyists have increased ten fold in the past decade as multinational companies become as powerful as governments, and seek to influence regulations in their favor at the expense of everyone else. Such problems are growing faster than solutions. This means more human misery, not less, in the future. So it is everyone's duty to learn the facts and act accordingly instead of simply turning away into those usual stagnant dogmas that thrive in ignorance.

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