I have already established that, due to the various challenges facing us, the future is looking very different from the past.  In this post I will be describing a number of possible futures that I see as being possible.

I will be looking at this from a UK perspective since, being from the UK, this is what concerns me most.  Other countries might have futures that I haven’t considered and the probability of them occurring will certainly be different.

Business-as-usual

The business as usual future is one where nothing has changed.  While not very likely in the long term, it is possible that we will find some new magical source of energy and that technology will solve all of our other problems (at least enough so that they won’t happen here)!  Funnily enough, this future is very easy to imagine – nothing has changed!

Mad Max

At the other end of the scale, we have the Mad Max future – civilization has collapsed and we’ve probably ended up eating each other (a la The Road).  While this scenario is not very likely (despite how my previous post might have sounded!) it should be taken into account, simply because of its severity.  In this future life will be harsh, short and violent.

Eco-friendly paradise

The next scenario is the one that the green movement envisages and is probably the most hopeful of all our options.  In this scenario, people have come together and worked towards a common solution.  Recycling is the order of the day, most people will grow at least some of their own food.  Transport will primarily be local and while there will be less of everything, people will be more content with their lives – with less time spent working and more time spent living.

This is the best outcome of the likely scenarios and is the one that the various movements, such as the Transition Town initiative and the Green Wizards are working towards.  This is the future that we should be aiming towards and one of the two that I will be talking about in the future.

Grinding Poverty

The final future is the one that we will probably encounter if we do not get our act together.  This is the future of grinding poverty (unless you’re one of the super-rich).  The rich will get wealthier, while everyone else will get poorer.  The UK will become more like a third-world country or a country like that envisioned in the film Children of Men.  There will be a small elite, vast numbers of poor and probably not much in-between.

Universal healthcare, retirement and good education will be things of the past.  I see it as being similar to the UK during the Second World War (without resources being brought into the country from our allies).  Rationing will probably be inevitable and the government more authoritarian.  This is another likely scenario and the second one that I will be talking about on this blog.

Conclusions

While the extreme scenarios are not high probability they should at least be taken into account.   Business-as-usual could easily trundle along for another decade or two (so it’s probably not a good idea to hide in the woods just now), while the Mad Max is severe enough that it should be included in planning for the future.

The most likely scenarios are those of grinding poverty and eco-friendly paradise (or, most likely, something in between).  I will be looking at how we can best prepare for these, and also how we can increase the chances of the future being as bright as possible.

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