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Brave New World
Brave New World
Now the one thing you can be sure about forecasting is that you will get it wrong! The question I guess is how wrong..
There seems to be a growing opinion that the right to travel when and where we please will be eroded over the next 50 years as the shortage of cheap oil and environmental concerns force us to lead more local lives.
So more locally produced foods, unless they can be transported by sea, families that live closer together once more, and a heavy reliance on telecoms rather than face to face.
Foresight, the UK Government’s science think-tank, consulted 300 transport experts when drawing up its vision of how travel will have changed by 2055. Its report concludes that the growing demand for greater personal mobility is unsustainable and based on false assumptions.
It states: “We cannot presume that we will have cheap oil for the next 50 years, [or that] we can respond to increasing demand by building more capacity, [or that] we will continue to have the right to move as and when we please.”
It proposes that people should be forced to pay the true cost of their journeys, including compensating for the environmental damage they cause. Charging for trips by the mile or selling “slots” for journeys “would make people aware of the real costs of travel”.
Foresight also calls for debate on the more radical option of giving each individual a carbon allowance “which would apply to all their activities, not just travel”.
It gives warning that people will find the shift to a less mobile society painful, adding: “Travel is embedded within long-established patterns of life and this can make change difficult.”
The report offers four scenarios for 2055, with the world’s willingness to adapt and ability to find technological solutions dictating which comes true.
In the bleakest scenario, an acute oil shortage and lack of affordable alternative energy source trigger a global depression. Economies collapse as businesses can no longer afford to move goods and people. People survive in increasingly isolated communities that have to learn to become self-sufficient, with most journeys made by bicycle or horse.
The most optimistic scenario envisages that a cleaner alternative to oil is available in abundance, allowing the present trend towards greater globalisation to continue apace.
Whatever the truth the future will be different to today
1/27/2006 3:59 am
So does this mean I have to go back to Norway? Neither of my parents live there though... One lives here, another lives on the other side of the world, and the rest of my family are scattered far and wide. Maybe it's time for me to put down some roots. I think 8 years means I've grown roots, don't you? Lol, although the last place I lived was for 20 years... and I always knew I wasn't going to live there forever!!|
1/28/2006 12:03 pm
You sounded rooted to me!