I think I am an optimist.
We are told all day and everyday that it is all very bad, and that it is going to get worse. There are things that I see that do worry me a lot, but I think that beyond that the human spirit is very strong.
I have been thinking of the program a few years ago where David Attenborough showed us something about the evolution of early man. The point at which the human race as we know it seems to have evolved was when a handful of families, no more than that, were living in very harsh climatic conditions somewhere in Africa.
They had the ingenuity to come up with ways of setting aside a small cache of water. An ostrich egg, filled with water and stoppered with dried grass, carefully buried in the shade of a tree.
It may have been this ingenuity, coupled with luck, which gave them what was necessary to survive in a very hostile world.
Things are tough now, I have spent time thinking about energy security, and food security, and climate change and population growth, and the credit crunch and all the other things we worry about. I don’t happen to think there is a magic wand, and it is pretty likely that we are all going to lose some of the security we thought we had. but I still think there are grounds for optimism.
One of the things that I feel is good, is that attitudes are changing. We have had so many years when having and getting were seen as so important, and people stretched themselves so much to “achieve” the best for themslves. A lot more people are now feeling that “enough” is quite OK.
Ideas are becoming very valuable. Because we have been chugging along quite nicely, it was not always necessary to think of something new, or do things differently. Now a whole load of interesting ideas are being shared, and being developed, from the new LED lighting in the pipeline, that will give us a really good quality of light, for very little power, in fittings that will last 60 years, to Oslo’s plans to run its buses on gas from sewerage.
The emphasis on developing the green economy can bring all these new ideas on, it might also give people the incentive to brush the dust of patents which might once have seemed unimportant, but may now provide answers we need.
And beyond that, there are all the amazing new ways that are evolving to help us talk to each other more effectively. I am still feeling my way with all of this, but I certainly see it’s potential.