It’s a fact: the planet we are leaving for our children is in a worse state than the one we inherited. And while we may wish to retort that it’s not all our fault, the questions still remain: what on earth can we do about it now? Isn’t it all too late? Questions we’ve all mumbled as we tie up the recycling bags and toss another tub of mouldy sour cream on the compost. After all, the planet holds six-and-a-half billion people, so how can one person’s choices possibly make a difference?
Ex-rocket scientist and Pulitzer Prize nominee Dr James Martin answers those questions in his new book The Meaning Of The 21st Century: A Vital Blueprint For Ensuring Our Future. And the answers run pretty much like this: No, it’s not all our fault; no, it’s not too late; and yes, every individual’s choices will make a difference. And if there’s one person who can predict the future, then Martin is the man for the job. After all, in 1977 he forecast that by the year 2000 computers would be linked by telephone lines and radio waves, which would allow millions of people to exchange electronic mail, shop for merchandise and work at home. And this premonition was at a time when there were no personal computers, no mobile phones and certainly no internet.
More than thirty years on, Martin believes that the next generation is going to live through a transition in the way that the planet is run. “Today’s young people will be the generation that brings about a transition unlike any before in history,” says Martin. It is vital that they understand the critical role they will play. The transition generation, if we get it right, will not only steer the planet away from a course of mayhem, but will also set the stage for an extraordinary evolution of civilizations, very different from what we know today.”
And the future he foresees is one of great affluence – eco-affluence. “There are many ways to be affluent without harming the environment. Some involve the love of nature, some involve high technology, and some involve football, theatre or jazz. It is critical to teach these matters to the rising generation who will have to cope with the situation. Civilization’s survival depends on it.”
The Meaning Of The 21st Century: A Vital Blueprint For Ensuring Our Future
This article previously appeared in Junior magazine as a print article