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The following is an excerpt from commencement remarks made by Ms. Rosa Rodrigues, who served four years as Chief of Staff to President Delores Hernandez (2033–2041). Looking back over the last 28 years, it is amazing how much has changed, not only in the United States, but throughout the world. Back in 2014, despite continuing high unemployment...
Where there is no vision, the people perish. —Proverbs 29:18 Soon after I moved to Oberlin in 1990, a battle-scarred veteran of local politics told me “son, you gotta understand one thing about this town . . . If you put all Oberlinians in a burning building, they could not agree on how to get out. Just accept it.” I never did and no one else...
The term “national conversation” seems to be gaining traction as a desirable activity where people talk with one another at a national scale about matters of national concern—the United States talking about the security state, for instance, or Australia calling for discussions on population, the structure of future economies, and attitudes towards...
The year 2050 is a good time to look back on the major events in the United States since the turn of the century. There have been great hardships, but we have prevailed and achieved so much. Without question, our greatest challenges have been the unparalleled loss of life and the tremendous destruction caused by global climate change. Fortunately...
To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing. −Raymond Williams In a world at risk, those attuned to the dangers can feel a powerful temptation to sound apocalyptic alarms to awaken the somnolent. Arousing fear, though, without offering a compelling vision of a better path, raises only dispiriting anguish and...
This article is part of a regular section in Solutions in which the author is challenged to envision a future society in which all the right changes have been made. The year is 2071, and the world is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 2021 Mumbai Earth Treaty. On this momentous day, it seems appropriate to look back at the dramatic sequence...
It seems impossible, until it is done. Nelson Mandela In 2050 it’s a pleasure to breathe. The air is fresh, even in the biggest cities. Commuters don’t reach home frazzled after being tied up in bad traffic. The world is simpler in 2050. There are fewer consumer goods but there is more time, more conversation, and more contentment. The most...
The following is an excerpt from a new book by James G. Speth, America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy (Yale University Press, 2012). Speth envisions a future America in which citizens have created a sustainable and desirable society, and lived up to our present challenges. The vision is focused on America, but the lessons are relevant...
In a standard test of reasoning, you are given a candle, a box of thumbtacks, and a book of matches. Your task is to attach the candle to the wall so that it does not drip onto the table below. I thought about how to melt the wax and use it to stick the candle to the wall. What would you do? This challenge is designed to reveal functional...
She double-checks the name of the essay final exam—Global Environmental History 302—complete with her student ID number and the date, 23 May 2052. Deciding to use voice and gesture interface for input and edit, she is ready. She thinks OK, Jiera, just keep it organized. You studied for hours and you need to keep up those honors grades. Think...