An organisation recently formed which brings together people aged 15 to 30, who are interested in nature, called ‘A Force of Nature’ or AFON, and they have been encouraged to share their “Vision for Nature”, a series of blogs which are available on: http://www.afocusonnature.org/ .
In the year 2050 I will be fewer than two years from being a centenarian. I have pondered whether I had a vision for nature when I was of the required age, and decided that though I was not aware of it at the time, I probably did. I still have a vision for the sort of Earth I would like to inhabit then.
Science is the basis of the material improvements people have enjoyed over my lifetime and before, and it is providing an increasing understanding of our wildlife populations with their needs, and how they may be conserved. It is also the foundation of our consumer economy which is in tension with the natural world.
Science should be cherished as an independent activity, to enable cleaner and more efficient ways to improve our lives and to put right the damage and the ugly exploitation of land, the living world and the people that prevail now.
Many things serve to inspire people; art, music, and literature. The natural world also inspires. This is probably a function of our hunter gatherer ancestry; our thought processes are tuned to the sky, the seasons, and the sound of running water . Few people demonstrate joy through having numerous possessions above a certain level of need. Future generations may yet return to an interaction with nature. The air may be fresh, the walks may be safe and the rivers may be clear enough again.
This will continue to make strides, and may be a force for good. An ‘internet of things’ is already taking shape. While the ability to control our central heating on our mobile is a modest service indeed, this concept could be used to monitor all sorts of pollutants, our energy use and it could greatly reduce our waste.
There are choices. Transport can be made cleaner, or faster, food can be cheaper or produced in a more efficient way, we can choose to work harder, play harder, or know when to take a rest and breathe the clean air.
Gadgetry will increase; it has already resulted in a surge of recording of animals and plants, by means of miniature cameras, camera drones, satellite tracking and on line reference opportunities.
Meanwhile social media, smart phones and computers have enabled us to engage in publishing, filming, communication and education in ways not envisaged in the past. People will be able if they choose to engage in the natural world, and will have the opportunity to process their data in a potentially worldwide community.
This is driven by growth, one in which people are encouraged to consume ever more. This results in a feeling of wellbeing to a point, beyond which increase of contentment is diminished as affluence increases. There are people all over the world who are right to expect however to achieve these basic standards of life.
Our present economic outcomes are mixed. In 2050 I hope that societies will have chosen to stop using exponential growth based on borrowing, to be paid for by future generations, with yet more growth.
The world effectively has become smaller and connected, and will never be at ease with itself while people in some areas do not get fair deals. In 2050 I hope global trade will be free, but standards of human rights and the environment will be uniform, and based on respect and science.
A new generation
Jesuits are credited with suggesting that people’s ideas are set by the age of 7; some commentators say younger than that. Einstein is said to have quoted,’ Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.’ This would suggest that even the members of AFON may be too old. However this is not a counsel of despair, fundamental changes in the aspirations of society can change and have in the past.
My vision for nature
In 20150 the people of the world will be as enthusiastic about nature as I am.