It’s time to invent the ‘Buy Later’ button!

My adventures with my new book The Good Ancestor continue apace.

The US edition has just been been released (please support your local bookstore!) and there will be editions coming out soon in Dutch, Chinese and other languages.

If you haven’t yet read the book, you can get a taste of it in this 7-minute TED talk I did for their recent Countdown event on the climate crisis (it received over half a million views in its first 48 hours). From the same event I can really recommend the talks by David Lammy, Severn Cullis-Suzuki and Andri Snaer Magnason.

If you want a deeper dive into the book, the Long Now Foundation has produced a fantastic cinematic version of a 45-minute talk I did for them, full of photos and video footage, and followed by Q&A with long-term gurus Stewart Brand and Kevin Kelly.

There are clearly a lot of people out there intrigued by how to be a good ancestor: I’ve found myself giving talks about the book to government ministers, direct action climate campaigners, activist school kids, radical architects, staff at Google and much more.

And I love what can come out these events. In one of them I was speaking about how we need to invent a Buy Later Button to replace the ultra-short-term Buy Now Button. This new button would offer a dropdown menu where you can buy the item immediately, but also have options to buy in week, buy in a month, buy in a year or borrow from a friend. So if you click ‘buy in a year’ you would get an email in a year asking if you really want to buy that third yoga mat.

Anyway, I then discover that someone at the talk has picked up on the idea and created a website called, with the strapline ‘Long Term Thinking, Slow Down Shopping’. Clever. They are now in the process of creating the app to do the job of the Buy Later Button.

I’ve also had the privilege of working with many inspiring and creative people, amongst them a group of cartoonists from magazines such as The New Yorker and Esquire. In a project with the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, the cartoonists read The Good Ancestor and created original cartoons in response to its themes. Below is one of my favourites (you can view the whole collection here).

And just to finish, if you don’t know it, let me introduce you to one of the most powerful poems I’ve encountered on being a good ancestor: Hieroglypic Stairway by Drew Dellinger. Listen to him read it here. And here is an excerpt to mull over:

it’s 3:23 in the morning

and I can’t sleep

because my great great grandchildren

ask me in dreams

what did you do while the earth was unravelling?

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