Many of the discussions about "the future" on this forum seem to be about "BAU until we all die," or "Global collapse now, then we die." Perhaps we need a separate thread like this where other, more positive scenarios can be considered? Think of it as science fiction if you wish. If necessary, this thread can be moved over next to the nice poetry and art items. :-)
Climate change is happening; it's caused by the burning of fossil fuels; we must stop using fossil fuels as quickly as possible; climate change is going to get much worse; it's going to be horribly expensive to act on; the developing world needs help; life as we know in the developed world will definitely change -- BUT -- there are still many different paths out of this scenario! In the early 1930s, did anyone foresee disparate countries coming together to fight a "world" war? Or could they guess that a huge chunk of the US manufacturing sector would be turned over to the war effort, practically overnight? Or that rationing and mandatory blackouts would happen? Given the unpredictability of humankind, I do not believe that the total collapse of civilization due to climate change is inevitable.
The future scenario I would like to share is based on known, improving technology. I am suggesting big changes, a new "valence state," if you will, as a result of fighting this global climate war. It will be a lower energy state, because we won't have anywhere near the amount of power we got from fossil fuels -- but we won’t need that much! As we totally revamp the energy, food and industrial sectors, it will make sense to revise social and economic approaches, as well. A less materialistic and less capitalist state only makes sense.
Here’s how I see it:
1). Income. Everyone is paid a monthly living wage. So, since there's no need to be employed in order to live comfortably, unnecessary jobs (e.g., manufacturing, and most food production and service) can be eliminated. People will work at what they love, which might be in government, or service, or farming; or they might be an artist, or they may do nothing at all. http://www.salon.com/2013/10/11/rather_than_savage_cuts_switzerland_considers_star_trek_economics/
2). Food. Most cropland and herds have been demolished by climate change. As traditional food prices skyrocket, 3D food printers take their place in every village, restaurant, household. Big Ag turns to krill, algae, and insect sources to supply the base food mix needed for food printers. No longer does feeding the world depend on large tracts of arable land and just the right kind of weather. Environments can start to heal. Small, sustainable farms exist where the climate permits.www.extremetech.com/extreme/156355-nasa-funds-3d-food-printer-to-combat-hunger-in-space-and-on-earth
3) Power. Fossil fuels were eliminated. Renewable energy and storage continue to become more efficient. New buildings are self-sustaining. Between power cutbacks and ubiquitous 3D printers, most manufacturing plants closed. The remaining "Industry" no longer requires large amounts of power from a national grid. People discover they do just fine without a lot of "stuff", particularly when they can print what they need, when they need it.www.greeningtheblue.org/news/new-unfccc-hq-renovations-reduce-emissions https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/375737311641628672/photo/1gizmodo.com/this-printer-spits-out-10-meters-of-solar-panel-every-m-508966042www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-10/csiro-makes-brisbane-girl-a-titanium-dragon/5194636 http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2014/02/06/3-d-printer-creates-organ-tissue/?hpt=us_bn8
4). Everything is recycled. “Trash is the new gold.”
5). Land once used for farming can now be used for housing, helping to reduce overcrowding. A typical house or apartment is "smart" and needs no extra devices like lamps, TVs, clock radios or fans. It probably has a food printer, but it has no kitchen or laundry. The power it requires is small and is generated locally; water is heated with renewables and is recycled. Water that would once have been used for irrigation or energy or manufacturing can now be supplied for (efficient) personal use.
6). Cars. Yes, there will be cars! And trucks! Not many, mostly commercial, and all-electric. Lots of public transportation methods, and residential/work/play communities that enourage walking and biking.
I hope others will post additional positive possibilities. Food for Thought.