There’s No Tomorrow

Well, there likely will be more than a few of them. But our children’s children’s tomorrows will be, in many ways, unrecognizable from today.  And we’re better off letting that fact into our realities than living with self-deluded beliefs that this particular way of life will go on forever.

Even though the animation is clever and non-threatening, the message is sobering. In the 34 minutes of “There’s No Tomorrow” you’ll get an in-a-nutshell primer on where humankind has been, where we are, and where we’re headed along all the major human enterprise curves: agriculture, transportation, energy, housing, soils and water, air and waste.

Given that this is a produced in association with the Post Carbon Institute with Richard Heinberg as technical advisor, you can be pretty sure it has been thoroughly fact-checked.

Yes, there could still be technological wild cards that shift one or the other of these curves of depletion or peak by a decade or so. But the final conclusions are unavoidable.

We have just lived through a very unique period in humanity’s short history, and the odds are overwhelming that we’ll not find the equivalent energy source with fossil fuels’ robustness or portability  that will let tomorrow be anything like today’s throughput of matter and energy.

The final prognosis is based on no single cause but all taken together.  But if there was a single most necessary change, as I see it, that would be to overturn our current economic model.

That flawed map has been carrying us to ruin by ignoring limits, boundaries and tipping points imposed by the capacities of a finite world. It runs on the fuel of consumption, debt and corporate growth that have already caused massive loss of well-being and health to humans, all of earth’s creatures, and the dynamic working systems of the planet.

But this message offers some proactive ways we can make the future better at the local level, starting today. And that is my take-home from the animated video.  We will relocalize and emphasize cooperation and interdependence to replace yesterday’s competition and independence. Or not. We have choices.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I read the “related link” Terminal Capitalism: Part 1 and all I can say is … wow! Time Magazine, founded by Henry Luce, publishes an article questioning capitalism? Double wow. As Bob Dylan sang, “the times, they are a-changing.”