This morning I wondered to myself. What will 2030 be like? When I was in grade school, that was the year, 2030, which it seemed all the gravest predictions about our future pointed to… As Gen X woke up to environmentalism in the late 80’s we apparently had until 2030 to sort out this mess.
And now here we are. Less than a decade from that. Having just experienced a year of reckoning. A year where every facade of “just keep keeping on” imploded and the very foundations of modern life were stripped bare to show the horrible inequity and shallow wisdom of them. Capitalism, globalism, white supremacy… the privilege of the few on the backs of the many… not least of which is our natural systems of ecology and climate. These things will not magically improve at midnight. It has taken generations to create this moment of unmasking fragility. And it will take some serious effort to make 2021 the beginning of something better.
To build anything close to the future we want, each of us must make each day forward count. Approach it with the mindset of an 8 year old that found all their Lego disassembled and decided to build something utterly new, something fantastic and hopeful.
So on New Year’s eve 2020 I’ll not reflect on the past year. No. This is a post that looks squarely forward to the future I want for myself, my children, for all of us. Gen X, this is our time. If we’re going to make 2021 the moment of change, the TSN turning point… we had better radiate our intentions and make a conscious commitment. If not you and me, now, then who, and when? We can decide right now. We can decide it is up to us.
My vision of 2030
A sustainable and renewable life. One where we’ve left behind the madness of fossil fuel extraction and combustion engines. One where we grow the food we need, and share what we grow so nobody need know hunger while millions of pounds of food is wasted daily. One where everybody has enough to feel safe, and billionaires aren’t a thing anymore. Simply put, we don’t need billionaires and wealth. We need community.
An equitable and just society. Where “justice” is not determined by uniforms and bias but is built upon human dignity and love. One where indigenous voices lead the way on the environment and sustainability. Where indigenous people are respected and have dignity and respect when they seek healthcare. One where “black lives matter” no longer needs to be a constant refrain, because we’ve dismantled supremacy, and people of colour no longer fear for their lives because they wake up black.
Humanity becomes fluid. We’ve left gender behind. Non-binary, trans, and everyone else who’s been marginalized no longer die from systems that don’t believe they exist, or consider them anomalous. There’s no more pink or blue aisle in toy stores. LGBTQ2S+ celebrate pride every day instead of fearing persecution or violence.
Getting there means sacrifice. I know this vision sounds far to radical for some. And yet we’ve never been closer. A smaller number of us need to give up a little, for so many to be better off.
A manifesto for 2021
It starts with giving up the dream of being “wealthy”. The trappings of a consumption culture are just that, a trap. Our family has given up two gas vehicles for a single PHEV this year, and I haven’t stopped thinking about what else we could do in 2021? How else could we just quit the game? Just stop being part of the consumer machine. In the early confusion of the pandemic last spring I gave up on a garden. This spring I plan to double down and grow and share all that I can. We have more than enough, and I hope to find more ways to need less this year.
I also plan on continuing to step into uncomfortable conversations about race and equality. The same for LGBTQ2S+ and anyone else who has been marginalized by a society that defaults to white, cis, het normative bullshit. There’s no going back to prioritizing my own white comfort… and so I commit to learning, doing, and being a better person. To helping my fellow white folks see ourselves and our role on the path to equality. To be okay with being in the wrong, and doing the hard work to make the world a better place for all of us.
Finally, I’ll learn more from the indigenous people and support them as they lead the conversation on climate justice. I’ll learn more words in Mi’gmaq/Mi’kmaq. Not just for vocabulary, but because the world view embodied by language matters. I’ll honour seven directions including up, down, and inwards. I’ll do whatever I can to show up for indigenous people, to amplify them, and hold their wisdom and teachings. We need to unlearn and relearn so many things. I hope indigenous people continue to be patient and keep teaching us about love, respect, courage, truth, humility, wisdom, and honesty.
So what about you?
What’s your vision? What are you committing to doing differently this coming year so we can have the world we want by 2030?