Have We Colonised The Future?

‘We treat the future like a distant colonial outpost devoid of people, where we can freely dump ecological degradation, technological risk, nuclear waste and public debt.’

This is a quote from an article I’ve just published on the BBC Futures website called Why We Need To Reinvent Democracy for the Long-Term.

I’d hugely appreciate if you had a chance to read it, share it, and post any thoughts you have in the comments section below. It contains some of the ideas I’ve been developing for a new book I’m writing on the power of long-term thinking (which explains why I haven’t written a blog post for eight months). At the centre of the book is a simple – yet I believe vital – question: How can we be good ancestors?

For those of you who subscribed to this blog due an interest in the subject of empathy, the book explores the great challenge of how we can empathise with future generations. It’s a tough one – any answers, please let me know!

4 thoughts on “Have We Colonised The Future?

  1. I just got to your chapter on the Future of Empathy in Empathy. Since the book was published in 2014, I was curious about your thoughts on the current state of affairs. As an American living in what seems to be the complete opposite of an empathic world, I’d love to hear more of your thoughts.

  2. Hi Kate
    Thanks for your message. I think it’s clear that some of the issues I raised in the book have expanded into a larger empathic crisis. The ‘us’ versus ‘them’ discourse that I discuss has clearly been magnified in the age of Trump. Also, we are still failing to step into the shoes of future generations and act on the global ecological emergency. My forthcoming book, The Good Ancestor: How To Think Long Term in a Short Term World, particularly addresses this second issue. So these are tough times for the empathy revolution. But I think the actions of Greta Thunberg and others are showing there is another path.
    Best wishes

  3. I appreciate your long term work…much needed in this crisis mode way of being in the world. I have a suggestion to make on how we can visualise our role of ancestors. A walk from the past, from the origin, from the Last Universal Common Ancestor. Where 1m = 500 000 years. One great example here in Tasmania http://windgrove.org/portfolio/gaia-walk/ . The Climate strike could also take shape as the Ancestor Walk. At the end of which could be offered Citizens’ Assemblies for debate and discussions and decision making?…

  4. Just came across this quote in the winter edition of The New Humanist magazine. I think you have captured the essence of the current environmental crisis perfectly. The challenge is that this has been true for all species, not just man, across all time. Everyone and everything has to deal with the sum total net effect of all that has gone before it. 

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