Imagine the world in 2030. We’ve exhausted our virgin, natural resources. Our mines are tapped out. Our working forests are gone. Our fossil fuel reserves are done.
Luckily, our leaders across business, government, and civil society have joined together to create vast amounts of natural reserves (just in time!), so that the environment is able to regenerate at a healthy, steady rate. However, in order to thrive, these protected natural places must remain untouchable for decades, so we have to make do with what we’ve already pulled out of the ground.
In this future, imagine that we’ve opened up landfills in search of precious metals for electronics. We’ve cleaned up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to extract precious plastic for recycling into new goods. And we’ve shifted away from a take-make-waste culture because every. single. thing. counts.
In this future, nature is flourishing because we’ve learned to leave it alone. We’ve learned how to share better. We’ve learned to live in cohousing settlements where each family has an individual dwelling but also shares resources like a community event space, pool, gym, and playground.
We’ve learned that not everything needs to be new to be new to us. We’ve learned to find a home for things we no longer need–and connect with others who can benefit from these items along the way. Like a toaster. Or a sweater. We’ve learned how to build modular products where small parts can be updated easily over time.
In this world of resource limitations, humans still crave abundance, but it’s shifted meaning. Instead of an abundance of material goods, we want an abundance of time, meaningful relationships, and passionate pursuits. We want an abundance of creativity, experiences, and freedom.