I know the title is one to be very skeptical about. But we all can and should read the future. A question next is, are we helping or hindering the next generations?
I read an interview with the author of the book The Optimist’s Telescope by Bina Venkataraman. Several thoughts struck a chord. Fascinating and thought-provoking.
How can I leave the next generation better off than my generation? One guiding principle is to leave as many options as possible while not destroying non-renewable resources.
I appreciated the concrete example the author offered. CRISPR, in its simplest definition, is a process of deliberately altering DNA. When we change the DNA of embryos, we transform the DNA into the future, giving fewer options to future generations. We changed one set of DNA for the other without understanding the consequences 100 years to 1,000 years from now. I don’t support editing inheritable traits.
This leaves options now, with a few restraints, to do research with CRISPR to solve problems of disease. We can benefit from our growing current knowledge and be able to handoff this information to others.
Concerning maximizing choice in the future, the resources just aren’t there to use many of the non-renewable resources now. It seriously limits future options.
The need to keep as many options as possible is essential. It isn’t binary, as there can be degrees.
Our world climate, as a non-renewable resource, is passing into the future. Pollution, radioactive waste, extinct plant animals and other living things, and undrinkable water supplies are no longer rare. But the biggest, hidden cost will be unveiled by the young people and their ancestors we are raising today. One of their fewer options will be to clean up the environment as quickly as possible, with a significantly lower standard of living.
So, giving this a bit of a think, two ideas come to mind. Choose one aspect of your current life, be it knowledge or a non-renewable resource. Now spend the next few minutes identifying how you can slow the removal of options of young people you love when they get to your age.
Full control may not rest with you. But, you could influence the thinking of those people who do have the opportunity to make a change. There are many ways to advocate.
I’ll close with a quote from Bina Venkataraman’s book.
“In place of blind denial and paralyzing pessimism, we need a radical strain of optimism.”
My thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association: 780-459-0433 for making this Blog possible.
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