"If we each take responsibility in shifting our own behavior, we can trigger the type of change that is necessary to achieve sustainability for our race or this planet. We change our planet,our environment, our humanity every day, every year, every decade, and every millennia." --Yehuda Berg
Please allow me to unveil this post with a less conventional method: a video.
For the topic of sustainability, people usually talk a lot about it: the seriousness of the problems facing us now, the methods that should be taken to address the problems, the possible outcomes of “doing nothing”, “doing the wrong things” and “doing the right things not promptly enough”. But seldom do we discuss if there could be a future lying ahead, or if so, then what that future would be like.
In the past three months in New Zealand, I’ve become more optimistic about the answers.
So I’ll let my imagination run wild and present you with this.
Dear Suzanne from 2015,
Hi. You don’t know me. But I know you. One hundred years ago, in 2015, you were studying in New Zealand about tourism management. There were many afternoons you spent reading books on sustainability in the Roberston Library wondering if there is indeed a future. I found your piece of paper with this question on it hidden in a book. I have good news and bad news. Good news: our very existence attests to your beliefs. Bad news (maybe only for you): we don’t read books any more (too demanding on timber you see) and the Robertson Library is now a Museum and the books you had read are protected relics now.
You expressed your concern about transportation, esp. the GHG emission of air travel and gas emission of cars. Well, I guess it may be a relief for you: we don’t have airplanes and cars anymore. Cities that are densely populated are developed with sound, seamless underground transportation system. And long-haul travels are carried out with “flytrain” that relies on solar energy. Within the cities, we believe riding bicycles is the safest and coolest way of getting around.
Transportation is not the only thing. Paper and pens are almost extinct from daily life. And life now is always connected to the internet (but this word is obsolete) which covers all areas across broader. Wind, hydro and solar are the main forms of energy we use these days. All materials produced nowadays are toxic-free and fully recyclable.
You talked about worrying that the future (our present age) will lose its touch with its roots. But, and I know it’s surprising, the old fashions are being brought back. Even though there are pills designed by doctors and scientists to provide enough energy for our body, more and more people begin to cherish the value of good cooking and a healthy family meal without frozen food. Walking in Dunedin, you will see people strolling in one of the 100+ gardens (oh I forgot to explain, people work at home now and the business buildings are things of the past). People, I reckon, are learning, after so long a time, the grace in slowness.
But we still are in the fight against environmental issues. Damage to the ozone layer is still a serious problem. And sadly we’ve lost some species (both flora and fauna). But it is good to see governments, organisations, enterprises and local communities are doing the best they can to help. And attractions like Orokonui Ecosanctuary are the most popular choices for tourists now.
On my behalf, please say thank you to those people in your time who genuinely care about the future for the generations to come. I’m writing to you because we want they to know that we are grateful. We, too, are facing what you once faced now. We see history prior to this era but we can’t see how the future is going to unfold itself. However, please don’t lose faith. And please remember every effort of yours is important because it shapes a little bit of our world now.
John Doe & Jane Doe from 2115
* Finally I would like to give my thanks to Maureen and her wonderful sustainable living DCC lessons. And the writing this letter is inspired by her wonderful “letter from the future”.